Guild Hall set to become ‘beating heart of Preston’

Vision: The latest images of how the Guild Hall could look after its transformation
Vision: The latest images of how the Guild Hall could look after its transformation
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Transformational plans to turn the Guild Hall into the “beating heart of Preston” have been formally lodged with the city council.

Major alterations to the entrance, as well as the creation of new restaurants and cafes, are among the proposals for the “renaissance” of the city-centre building.

And the entrepreneur behind the ambitious plans told the Evening Post he believes the venue has a “great future” ahead of it.

Architects Frank Whittle Partnership have submitted the “vision” for the iconic building, working alongside businessman Simon Rigby, who is due to take over its ownership in October.

It includes a new glazed entrance atrium, with new escalators and stairs, as well as the conversion of the tourist information office and another unit into two restaurants or cafes.

Mr Rigby said: “We see the Guild Hall being the live music venue, almost like the beating heart of Preston right in the centre. We plan to give the place a facelift and make it more modern and accessible, and make it seem more like a modern music and entertainment venue rather than a 1970s’ court house.”

He added: “While Preston is losing its only other live big music venue in 53 Degrees, in lots of ways, rather than Preston having two lame ducks, it is better off having one very strong venue and that’s what we hope to make the Guild Hall back into.

“We plan to have, inside the Guild Hall, three completely different food offerings which are going to hopefully attract people to come and spend a bit more time in the Guild Hall.

“The facelift of the outside is like phase one for us to make it like an attractive shop front, and that’s our motivation behind the plans.”