GUILD HALL CLOSES: How Preston Guild Hall was bought up - for just £1

Entrepreneur Simon Rigby bought the Guild Hall for just £1 back in 2014.

Thursday, 30th May 2019, 12:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th May 2019, 1:41 pm
Simon Rigby, pictured in 2015

The Guild Hall was originally built to replace the town’s Public Hall, intended to be ready for the Preston Guild of 1972, but construction was delayed and it officially opened in 1973.

Well-known artists such as Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, The Jackson 5, Thin Lizzy, and Busted have performed there.

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Simon Rigby, pictured in 2015

Owners Preston Council were keen to offload the ageing venue which was said to be costing the authority £1m a year. In 2013, the council carried out a “soft market” test on the possible disposal of the Guild Hall.

There were several bidders, and Mr Rigby emerged as the favourite, with plans to make the Guild Hall “the beating heart of Preston” once again.Blackpool-based Mr Rigby, who has a portfolio of companies, said at the time: “What we all want to see is Preston city centre thriving.

“Look at the location and the potential of the place.”

His ambition was to create a world-class venue for Preston and the North West. The Guild Hall has undergone a major transformation, with bars, cafes, restaurants and Level bringing in new visitors to the building.

But after investing huge sums of money in the venue, he decided last month that the Guild Hall would probably be better run and operated by another company.

The Post had reported on a number of promoters who said they were owed money for shows they had staged at the venue in recent months.

Mr Rigby also recently sold off his BetSid betting shops, closed his Safehands Nursery in Ribbleton, passed on the lease of ice cream parlour Bonds of Elswick and made changes to re-let Fives cocktail bar and grill.