Developers have defended plans to restore and transform a Grade II-listed orphanage into townhouses and apartments in Preston.
Simon Linford of Czero Developments says the conversion of the decaying St Joseph’s Orphanage “could make a very positive contribution to a vibrant city”.
It comes after The Victorian Society, which campaigns to preserve historic buildings, has urged the developers to rethink their plans – retaining the historic structures.
The proposals for the former orphanage off Mount Street would involve the demolition of major elements of the site, including most of the Victorian orphanage block.
But the Victorian Society has voiced its strong objection to the plans, which have yet to be considered by Preston City Council’s (PCC) planning committee.
Responding to the society’s concerns Mr Linford said: “I am generally supportive of the aims of the Victorian Society.
"We both care passionately about listed buildings and we both fight to save them. Where we differ is in the action we can take.
“We have talked to many people in Preston about the proposed development, and when we have had the opportunity to explain our approach, how much we care about the buildings, and how this site will be transformed by this development, we have received a lot of support.
"The future of St Joseph’s is in the hands of those who take a broad view about what is good for the city of Preston.”
The centrepiece of the development will be St Joseph’s Square, where the restored chapel and tower will be framed by ten townhouses, in a 21st century interpretation of Preston’s Georgian squares.
The small but highly detailed chapel, along with the landmark tower and spire, will be restored and converted into unique apartments.
Development team Czero and Buttress Architects were brought in by PCC after previous efforts to find a solution to the St Joseph’s site floundered.