UCLan's latest campus revamp approved

Major changes are coming to another part of the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Preston campus - just weeks after completion of its £60m university square development.

Thursday, 12th August 2021, 6:50 pm

Preston City Council’s planning committee has given the go-ahead to a revamp of the area around the former St. Peter’s Church - now the university's arts centre - and library and students’ union buildings.

Public spaces will be radically redesigned and made more accessible - and the Lancashire Post can reveal that a war memorial will also be relocated.

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UCLan's £60m square finally complete

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The sunken "basin" area surrounded by UCLan's students' union building, St. Peter's arts centre and library - soon to be revamped (image: Neil Cross)

The focus of the overhaul - between Fylde Road and Adelphi Street - will be the removal of the current “basin” paved area to the rear of the students’ union, which lies at a lower level than the surrounding walkways and is accessed via steps.

That will be levelled out and turned into a granite-based “central university square” which will be used for a range of events and activities - including open days, screenings and organised and informal court games.

A so-called “central spine” pathway will also be formed to connect the various elements of this part of the campus. It will be of a similar design to the public realm in the recently-completed main square and run from the arts court gardens at the rear of the new student centre through towards the Victoria Building.

The arts court gardens themselves will also get a facelift and new furniture, while a landscape pathway will be created to weave between the mature trees in the area.

The former St. Peter's Church, which has been UCLan's arts centre for decades (image: Kelvin Stuttard)

The new memorial will be installed just off the redesigned central square in between two curved benches and planters. The design is yet to be determined and will be the subject of a separate planning application, but a UCLan spokesperson told the Post:

“We’re taking the opportunity to move our war memorial plaque to a more sheltered space as part of our resurfacing works through the spine of our campus.

“The memorial will move from the east wall of St Peter’s Church to the north wall to ensure those gathering in the area for our memorial services or for quiet, personal contemplation are more sheltered from the elements. The final design has not been chosen yet, but we will ensure it is a fitting memorial.”

The church was taken over by what was then Preston Polytechnic in the early 1970s.

UCLan's library building (image: Kelvin Stuttard)

Planning officers assessed the potential impact of the proposals on the Grade II-listed former Anglican church and its retaining wall and found that they would not be harmed by the planned changes, because the historic setting of the heritage assets had already been “eroded” by other developments down the years.

Papers submitted as part of the university’s application to carry out the work stated that the public realm in the area is “generally poor with a disjointed range of levels and materials”.

The new university square and student centre was ceremonially handed over to the university at the end of last month after 100 weeks of work at the site off what was the Adelphi roundabout.

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