Alterations approved to Preston's Harris Museum despite objection

Plans for alterations to Preston's Harris Museum have been approved despite an objection from the Victorian Society.

Thursday, 7th January 2021, 3:04 pm
An impression of the Harris after the work is complete

The "Reimaginging the Harris" scheme is designed to breathe new life into the listed building and includes improving the entrance, making the interior more inviting and putting in a new gallery floor.

But the Victorian Society had objected to the plans for the Grade I listed building.

Preston City Council's planning committee today approved the alterations, saying the slight impact on the historic building was outweighed by the public benefit and ensuring its long-term future.

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The iconic Harris Museum

Two applications, approved unanimously by the committee, sought planning permission for the proposed works to adapt the building in order to improve its functionality and improve public access and circulation.

Planning permission was sought primarily for the external alterations to the building, which comprise external infill screening to the east and south elevations, a new doorway to the east elevation, two poster boxes to the south and west elevations, a portico to the west elevation and six obelisks to be installed within the public highway at the entrances to the building.

Other alterations included internal partitions, a new lift and escape stairway, new internal doorway to second floor, washrooms, cafe preparation and changing facilities and the widening of the public walkway to eastern entrance.

A report to the committee said the Victorian Society had no objection to the principle of the proposals, however the socviety said "some elements would cause harm to the significance of the Harris Library Museum".

Council planning officer Phil Cousins recommended the committee to approve the plans, saying the public benefit outweighed the low amount of harm that would be caused to the building/

Coun Peter Moss said: "This is the most important building in Preston.

"The responsibility to ensure it is looked after in the right manner weighs quite heavily with us."

He said changes had to be made to the building from time to time to ensure it remained viable and the proposals would ensure it was more accessible and usable for many.

Coun Jennifer Mein said the plans had taken a long time and a lot of work to formulate before they came to the committee.

They deserved to be approved .