“The time is right to invest in Preston”.
That was the key message delivered at the launch of Preston’s City Living Strategy yesterday.
Around 60 people, including investors, agents, and representatives from public bodies attended the Harris Museum to hear about the vision to create a Northern Quarter-style living boom in the city centre.
Caroline Baker of consultants Cushman and Wakefield spoke of Preston’s “enviable parks”, attractive buildings, and facilities such as schools, which could help attract families into the centre.
She said: “We want to tap into the postgraduate and young professional market, but it’s not just about flash flats, it’s about somewhere for everyone to live. It’s not just about high rises, it’s about quality new builds and conversions.”
The scheme has divided the city centre into six districts, each with its own identity.
Ms Baker said affordable living could be provided in the ‘Horrocks Quarter’, on the eastern entrance to the city and added city centre living would be attractive to an older population who want to be closer to facilities.
Neil Thornton of Etc Urban Developments, which is set to transform a derelict warehouse in Guildhall Street into 20 apartments, urged other investors not to “build cheap.”
He said the City Living strategy was a “game changer” as parties worked together for the first time to overcome any historic development obstacles.
Nigel Roberts, who is driving the project forward for Preston Council, said: “There is a lot of interest already from small-scale contractors, and it’s been building for the past 12 months.
“It’s a really exciting time for Preston, with everything coming together to promote what Preston has to offer.”