Bus station demolition ‘an opportunity’

Jeremy Gorick, a member of the Preston Vision board
Jeremy Gorick, a member of the Preston Vision board
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A member of the body set up to regenerate Preston’s city centre has said the demolition of its historic bus station provides “an opportunity.”

Businessman Jeremy Gorick, who ran chemicals firm Liquid Plastics, which specialised in concrete protection products, until 2009, said he believed the loss of the building could lead to the area being regenerated.

Last week, the Evening Post revealed the city council’s plans to pull down the building, which it claims costs £300,000-a-year to operate.

However, the debate over whether to pull down the building has continued to rage with heritage group, The 20th Century Society which had made efforts to get it listed status, accused the council of “a u-turn.”

Mr Gorick said: “It is difficult to quantify what that future looks like at the end of 2012, but the research done before Tithebarn collapsed remains valid, there is a huge opportunity for Preston here.

“The planning and construction industry remains difficult at the moment but, when things improved as they will, we are in a better position to move.”

On the decision to demolish, he added: “Do you keep the monster we have now and keep feeding it or do you move on?

“I think you can be misty-eyed about it and say it is a beautiful building, but the harsh financial realities will override that.”

Claire Price, a conservation adviser at the 20th Century Society, said the building was an “iconic example of Brutalist architecture.”

She said the body had been “very encouraged” the council planned to refurbish the building.

Mrs Price added: “The same people who are condemning it now will turn around in 10 to 20 years and says ‘Isn’t it a shame we lost such an important piece of 60’s architecture.’”

On Friday, the city council revealed it expected to have to pay between £17m and £24m to refurbish the building.

The matter will be debated at a meeting of the full council on Thursday before the authority’s cabinet votes on the future of the bus station on Monday, December 17.

For a full story on the latest with Preston’s bus station, see Monday’s Lancashire Evening Post.