Preston Bus Station revamp to take up to three years

Decaying: Preston's iconic bus station to get a facelift
Decaying: Preston's iconic bus station to get a facelift
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The £23m grand design for Preston Bus Station will be unveiled this summer . . . but it will be 2018 before travellers get to see it first-hand.

Work to restore the decaying building and its crumbling multi-storey car park is expected to take up to three years to finish, according to a report presented to councillors this week.

While the result of an international design competition is at the shortlist stage, with the winner due to be announced at the end of July, workmen are unlikely to begin repairing the Grade II Listed icon of Brutalist architecture until May next year.

And a timeline for the project shows a start on both a state-of-the-art youth zone and an extension of the “shared space” to link it with Fishergate are not scheduled to begin until 2017. The projected completion date for the whole of the bus station scheme is estimated to be March 2018.

“I think we will end up with a truly remarkable building at the end of it all,” said Coun Jennifer Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council. “I just can’t wait to see it. But it seems to be a very long time since we got it to this point and we need to make every effort to move it along as quickly as possible.”

The authority bought the building - described by one critic as “concrete lasagne” - for just £1 from Preston Council who couldn’t afford to carry out essential repairs.

The plan to spend £23m on a renovation has caused controversy, with County Hall’s Tory opposition even alleging the purchase was only made by the ruling Labour group to bail out the cash-strapped city council.

The first public viewing of how the refurbished terminus will look is scheduled for July 31. The public will be allowed a say in which of the five finalists is chosen. Almost 300 international architects registered to submit entries, 93 eventually put in designs and the competition drew hits online from around 100 different countries. “I am confident we have picked five interesting and varied options,” said Coun Matthew Tomlinson, a member of the selection panel.