The latest phase in the multi-million pound transformation of Preston’s Guild Hall has been given the go-ahead by planners.
An application to convert the basement and ground floor levels of the venue into a 10-pin bowling alley, nine-hole crazy golf course and karaoke booths was approved unanimously by councillors.
The project, also including a sports bar and dining room, will see a new entrance on Lord Street directly facing the bus station, opening up the Guild Hall and replacing the existing underpass.
Experts at the Preston-based Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP) have created a masterplan for the gradual redevelopment of the 1970s venue for The Rigby Organisation, involving the creation of restaurants and bars and redesigning external areas. Bosses say new the venue will breathe life back into the former Morrison’s supermarket site.
FWP architect Seb Salisbury said: “We are really excited by this next phase in the redevelopment of the Guild Hall.
“The internal basement and ground floor areas will be totally transformed by the creation of a fantastic new boutique bowling leisure facility.
“LeVel will create a vibrant new offering in Preston city centre and help to further establish the reputation of the Guild Hall as a destination leisure attraction.
“Creating a new entrance also opens the Guild Hall up to transformation of the bus station and the revitalisation of the public realm in the area.
“It is the latest stage in the vision that The Rigby Group has to create a vibrant cultural hub of entertainment, arts and leisure and it is great to see the city council getting behind the plan to help boost Preston’s standing in the region and its economy.
“The venue is very close to the hearts of many Prestonians and in all our designs and concepts we are committed to breathing new life into what had become a tired building.
“Our work also looks to better connect the Guild Hall with the public and the city centre, drawing more people in to its growing list of attractions.”
Committee chairman Coun Brian Rollo said the empty premises had been an “eyesore”, and said: “Bringing this back into use in the city centre can only be a good thing.”