Last ditch effort to get iconic station protected

Listing bid: 20th Century Society hopes to get Preston's demolition threatened bus station listed st
Listing bid: 20th Century Society hopes to get Preston's demolition threatened bus station listed st
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A heritage group has revealed it will make a third attempt to get Preston bus station listed status.

The 20th Century Society, which has failed in two previous efforts to get the building protected, has said it hopes to submit an application for listing by the end of the week.

If it gets approval, the move would scupper the city council’s intention to demolish the building.

Conservation adviser Clare Price said she believed the building was now “under a more substantial threat” following the council’s decision to move towards demolition.

She said the collapse of the £700m Tithebarn regeneration scheme, planned to go up on the site for the past decade, meant the society was confident its application would get a fair hearing.

The society must submit its application to English Heritage which will advise architecture minister, Ed Vaizey, whether to approve the listing.

Mrs Price said: “English Heritage has wholeheartedly recommended the building be listed, but our two previous applications have failed to convince the relevant ministers.

“Now we believe the situation has changed, the bus station is under a more substantial threat and there is no obvious scheme in the offing and therefore demolition has no reasonable basis connected to a regeneration scheme.”

She said she believed the national spotlight thrown on the building following the Lancashire Evening Post’s revelation of the council’s plan to demolish it earlier this month had raised its profile.

The adviser said: “It has given the building a national kudos it did not enjoy previously, its national profile has changed completely.”

Preston Council leader Peter Rankin said the authority “fully expected” the heritage group to make a third application to get the building listed.

He said: “The last listing application was refused by the Secretary of State less than two years ago and we do not think that there is any significant new information that has emerged since then that would warrant listing the bus station now.

“The only real difference is that the council’s funding has been cut by 40 per cent and we can no longer afford to repair the building or keep it running.”

He added the authority was “continuing to explore” the potential of private investment in the bus station, having revealed an anonymous “local businessman” was interested in investing earlier this week.