At last, notorious 'drug den' could be bulldozed to make way for more student flats in Preston

Plans to bulldoze a notorious drinking club and replace it with student flats could finally be given the go-ahead this week, seven years after the venue was shut down.

By Brian Ellis
Monday, 31st January 2022, 3:45 pm

A revised application for 129 apartments on the site of the derelict New Friargate Social Club, just yards from a children's playground, is expected to get the nod at Thursday's planning committee meeting.

If approved then residents in Maudland Bank could at last see an end to the problems which have blighted their neighbourhood since the club closed for business in 2015 and became a magnet for vandalism and illegal drug taking.

The application is the third plan in five years to go before councillors.

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The club is said to have attracted drug users and vandals since it close in 2015.

The first in 2017 was thrown out because the proposed student block of 152 flats over seven floors was considered too big. Developers took the matter to appeal, but failed to get the Town Hall decision overturned.

A year later a smaller development of 142 apartments over just four storeys was approved subject to a raft of conditions.

Now an even smaller scheme, reducing it to 129 flats, is also recommended for approval by the planning committee. The new plan reconfigures the ground floor following "serious concerns" over the location of a proposed bin store.

A report from council officers to the planning committee says: "As originally submitted, the refuse store was proposed to be in the basement, accessed via a communal lift with bins to be transported through residential corridors to the front entrance to allow them to be collected from Maudland Bank.

Residents say they are "fed up" with the derelict building in their neighbourhood.

"The council’s Waste Technical Officer raised serious concerns with both the location and accessibility of the proposed refuse store and requested the scheme be amended to ensure the refuse store was at ground floor level with bins being able to be presented onto Maudland Bank directly.

"As a result of this, the scheme has been amended in line with the Waste Technical Officer’s comments, by relocating the bin store to the ground floor adjacent to Maudland Bank with access directly onto the highway for crew collections.

"The Waste Technical Officer raises no objections to the proposed revised refuse store and as such is considered acceptable."

The New Friargate Social Club relocated from its original site in Friargate, opposite Roper Hall, in 1989. It remained in Maudland Bank, close to the UCLan campus, until 2015 when it went out of business.

A children's playground is only yards away from the derelict building.

Since its closure fed-up residents say it has been a problem in their neighbourhood and claim they have lodged numerous complaints with Preston City Council - who own the land it stands on - to take action.

They say they have found discarded syringes in the doorway and the building has become "an eyesore" and an "illegal drug den."