A children’s nursery and a dance studio have been revealed as part of entrepreneur Simon Rigby’s latest vision for Preston’s Guild Hall Arcade.
The owner of the city centre venue has submitted plans to Preston Council to transform empty units into the new facilities, and hopes the building will become a “hub for leisure and entertainment”.
Mr Rigby said his plans included crèche services and an outdoor play area, and said the new dance studio would be a “fantastic use of space”.
He said if plans were approved a new nursery, Safehands, would be housed in the Guild Hall. The child care provider is owned by Mr Rigby, and he said: “The idea is we will have a full day care nursery, but also we will provide crèches for when there are conferences or exhibitions.
“The intention is to make it a very good city centre facility for people generally passing through, and also very much in support of our development of the Guild Hall as a leading edge concert facility.
“You can’t hold a conference for an organisation which is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress until you have an on-site child care facility, so it’s something the Guild Hall needed anyway to help its development, but it’s also helping Safehands develop as well because we are going to have a city centre child care facility.
The intention is to make it a very good city centre facility for people generally passing through, and also very much in support of our development of the Guild Hall as a leading edge concert facility.Simon Rigby
“It is going to have a fantastic outside area because, on the first floor, there is a very big enclosed yard which will be turned into a beautiful outside play area.”
Frank Whittle Partnership, agents for the plans, said the proposals were part of the refurbishment of the Guild Hall “with the intention of turning the complex into a busy cultural and social hub”.
Mr Rigby is also hoping for permission to be granted for a dance studio to take over three empty units in the building.
He said: “Having the Guild Hall full of empty shops doesn’t interest us, we want to make it a hub for leisure and entertainment, so we are very pleased to have coming in there a dance studio, which is clearly in-keeping with our vision for the Guild Hall as a centre for arts and leisure in Preston and Lancashire.
“It’s exciting for us and I think it is a fantastic use of space in the Guild Hall and wholly in-keeping.”