Preston Bus reveals plans for brand new depot to replace ‘unsafe’ city headquarters

Preston is to get a brand new bus depot to replace its historic headquarters in Deepdale Road.

By Brian Ellis
Friday, 15th July 2022, 12:30 pm

And Preston Bus will vacate the ornate stone frontage to the site, used as offices since it was first built in 1914, so it can be converted into residential flats. The company's plans for its new depot have now been lodged with the city council.

Some of the old garages and workshops have already been demolished to make way for the modern repair and service centre. Now the remainder of the site will be flattened and a new smaller depot built in their place.

More industrial units to the south of the site, also owned by Preston Bus, could also be removed eventually as part of another planning application.

Preston Bus has plans to flatten the site and build a new depot.

Why is a new depot needed?

Parent company Rotala says: “The existing garage facilities were erected in the early part of the 20th century and are not currently a safe working environment with potential vehicle movement hazards.”

The plan is to redevelop the site "to suit the requirements of 21st century public transport".

A report submitted to the planning committee this week says: "The buildings are of considerable age and are in a poor state of repair.

Work has already been going on to demolish some of the outdated buildings.

"They are uneconomic and unsustainable to operate as they do not provide the correct arrangement for the unique servicing and repairing of buses."

How much of an improvement will the new depot be?

The report says the proposed depot building will be "designed to suit a modern-day operation for a bus depot” and will house the offices all within one unit.

"The building has been designed to maximise the open space within the site's boundaries, protect an existing culverted watercourse that crosses the site and ensure that the nearby residential developments are not subjected to (more) noise disturbance than currently experienced.

The ornate 1914 frontage will be preserved and converted to residential.

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"The site's access off the public highway has been designed to improve flows into and from the depot as well as providing an access to a small parcel of commercial land that will be developed later subject to a separate planning application.

"The building has been designed to be both functional and fit for purpose for its proposed use.”

Why is Preston Bus abandoning its distinctive ornate stone frontage on Deepdale Road?

The old depot buildings are said to be unfit for purpose.

The company says: "The offices used in connection with the workshops are in a separate building at the site's frontage and are uniquely configured and are devoid from the main depot.

"They are not suited for the modern-day operation of the bus depot.

"The building is in a poor state of repair requiring roof repairs. The building is expensive to heat and not considered sustainable.”

It adds that the frontage will “later be subject to a separate planning submission for a change of use to residential."

What is the history of the bus depot?

Originally a horse tram operation, an electric tram depot was first constructed on the site in 1904 and operated until the last tram ran in December 1935.

Buses were first housed on the site from 1922.

Preston Council owned the bus company until it sold it in a management buy-out in 1993.

In 2009, Preston Bus was bought out by national bus operator Stagecoach.

Current owner Rotala bought the company in 2011 and now has a fleet of 120 vehicles and 260 staff.