The Bailey Bridge, on the site of the original Vicar’s Bridge on East Cliff, looks likely to be demolished and replaced with a new structure.
Bosses say they hope the new bridge will provide a “catalyst for opening up the complex for future investment”.
The application to Preston Council is part of the Local Pension Partnership’s wider plans for the development of the former Park Hotel site, after Lancashire County Council’s pension fund bought the majestic building.
George Graham, chief finance officer for the Local Pensions Partnership, said: “It’s important to us that any development fits in with the existing conservation area and even adds to it.
“The existing bridge is in need of replacing, and we feel that this new design will be a suitable new addition to the conservation area.”
Alban Cassidy, chartered town planner and environmental consultant at Cassidy + Ashton, said: “This project is long overdue, given the bridge was installed as a temporary solution in 1971, and will provide a modern replacement bridge that will greatly assist in opening up access to East Cliff and enable the former Park Hotel to be restored to its original use.
“As a practice with vast experience in heritage and conservation schemes and one that is right on the doorstep of the proposed project, we were able to work with the bridge engineers to create a simple but appropriate solution that will be in-keeping with and complement the surrounding area.
“We’re really pleased to have reached this stage in the process and are excitedly awaiting a response to the application which will enable the installation of the replacement bridge and subsequently provide a catalyst for attracting investment to East Cliff.”