Bid for Great British Railways headquarters to be in Preston

A bid has been made to bring the new headquarters of Great British Railways to Preston.

By Catherine Musgrove
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 12:11 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 12:12 pm

A government competition is currently underway which asks councils to submit an expression of interest in housing the public body responsible for running Britain’s railways.

>>>Click here to read more about the competition

A shortlist will be created later in the year, and Lancashire County Council have put Preston forward for the HQ – to the annoyance of Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris, who wanted the Council to bid on behalf of Carnforth.

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County Councillor Aidy Riggott

Last week he presented a 350-signature petition to Parliament outlining why the Great Expectations location was the best base.

>>>Click here to read more of what David Morris had to say about why Carnforth should be ahead of Preston

County Councillor Aidy Riggott, cabinet member for economic development and growth at Lancashire County Council, said: "We're bidding to bring this important new rail headquarters to Lancashire. If we're successful, the Great British Railways offices would bring significant numbers of jobs and economic growth as staff relocate with potential wider opportunities and benefits across Lancashire.

"Our bid builds on the work we're doing with Preston City Council and the University of Central Lancashire to create a regeneration framework for the Station Quarter, which is a key area for development, as well as a transport gateway."

Great British Railways is a new public body which will own the infrastructure, with responsibilities for the running and planning of the rail network, in addition to the setting of fares and timetables.

The national headquarters is expected to be home primarily to corporate functions, a number of network-wide capabilities, and meeting and collaboration spaces that enable people from across the regions and industry to come together.

The successful town or city will work with the government to understand the requirements and work to agree a specific site.

Railway hub

Preston Railway Station is the main railway hub in Lancashire, with several lines providing direct connections across Lancashire from Blackpool to Colne and Carnforth to Chorley, as well as to key destinations including London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and the midlands.

It will also be a main stop for HS2 services in the future which will see improved links across Great Britain.

Detailed work is currently underway to draft a Preston Station Quarter Regeneration Framework, which sets out an ambition framework to guide the regeneration and redevelopment of this major city gateway.

The framework is being created in partnership between the county council, Preston City Council and the University of Central Lancashire.

As part of developing the bid, the county council are contacting key organisations and businesses to gain backing for the plans.

People can also give their backing direct by visiting www.lancashire.gov.uk/GBrailways