Harris proposals polarise opinion

Major proposals to transform one of Preston's most iconic buildings have been met with mixed responses from readers.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 17th October 2016, 2:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 7:21 pm
How Preston's Harris could look. Copyright Purcell Architects
How Preston's Harris could look. Copyright Purcell Architects

Ambitious plans for a makeover of Preston’s Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library have been unveiled as part of an £15m “re-imagining” project.

But the vision, including a new front door onto the Flag Market, has polarised opinion among those commenting online.

Hombre de Tulketh said: “It looks great but why do we have to wait a couple of years?

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“Let’s get on with it and let’s have this area complimenting the other stuff that’s going to go on in that area like the hotel the new market.”

Lancslad said: “Looks good to me so long as the gate entrance looks as though its always been there and not too modern for such a building.”

But others expressed horror at the scheme, and Safeashouses said: “No, no, no, no, no. This is Preston’s premier building, one of only two Grade 1 Listed buildings we have, the only one in the city centre.

“If this repugnant scheme is allowed to happen, it will make a complete mockery of the so-called Conservation Area and Listed Buildings in general.”

The Real Vespa said: “This scheme will never get off the ground sadly.

“I have long thought the flag market could be turned into a piazza to become more of a focal point for the city centre.

“Unfortunately the Harris will never change as too many objectors will kill the scheme before it can take place.”

Some readers raised fears over the funding of the project, in the wake of library closures and major budget cuts to councils, but bosses said up to 90 per cent of the cash would come from external sources.

Jon Finch, re-imagining the Harris project leader, said: “We are already progressing plans to secure as much as 90 per cent of the funding for the Harris from external sources.

“The Harris has a great track record of securing such funding, as the development of the £1.8 million Discover Preston gallery which opened in 2012 demonstrates.

“Obviously, our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund is a major element of this and we are working very hard to put together a detailed and impressive bid.

“Given the stature of the Harris, the improvements we need to make and the scale of the Re-Imagining we are approaching a range of national and regional funding bodies to support the project.

“Of course there will be some local funding not least from both Preston City and Lancashire County Council who have and will continue to maintain and invest in the Harris and its historic, cultural, civic and community legacy to both Preston and Lancashire.”