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Design announced for Preston Youth Zone and bus station improvements

Thursday, 19th May 2016

A revised design has been announced for the new Preston Youth Zone and improvements to Preston Bus Station.

Taking into account the aspirations of Historic England and The 20th Century Society, the youth zone will now ensure a clearer view of the Grade II-listed building, with a revised shape and separation from the bus station structure.

The proposed changes will also help to reduce the running costs of the youth zone.

The total budget for the improvement work and construction of the youth zone is around £23.3m.

The plans will see a multi-million pound investment in the Grade II-listed bus station site, to create a vibrant public space and a home for the new Preston Youth Zone Plus to house a wide range of activities for young people - while preserving the building’s unique brutalist architecture.

Other changes include the creation of new public space outside the bus station on the city centre side, as well as changes to the road layout, the bus station concourse and the car park levels.

Revisions to the plans are part of the preparatory work needed to eventually gain planning approval.

A short public pre-planning exhibition will be carried out on the revised design, starting on Thursday (19 May) and running until Saturday, on Stand 3 in the bus station.

It will be on from 8:30am to 5:30pm on Thursday and Friday; and 8:30am to 12:30pm on Saturday.

People can also see the plans and give their views online at until 5pm on Wednesday 25 May.

Preston Bus Station is owned by Lancashire County Council. These new proposals have been created by the design team, led by John Puttick Associates. His original proposal was chosen as the winner of the design competition last year.

John Puttick, the British-born architect based in New York and London, said: “One of our key objectives has been to design a building maximising available public space in and around the bus station to create a major new square for Preston. This supports the civic quality of the project.

“It has also been important to respond to the proudly utilitarian quality of Preston Bus Station by designing a new neighbour that shares and celebrates this robustness, just as a youth centre used for sport and as a place for creativity should do.”

Jennifer Mein, leader of the county council, said: "Taking time to get the design right now will help this process in the future. It's important that we develop plans to gain the necessary planning approval and ensure that we deliver this youth zone for our young people and improve the bus station for everyone to use.

"Our plans for the bus station are a major investment in the city centre, which will also enhance the regeneration of the Markets Quarter. We're working to revitalise this section of the city by improving this major transport hub and providing high quality facilities for public transport users and motorists.

"Through the Preston South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal, we’re delivering improvements to roads and public transport that will make it easier for people to get around and bring new people into the city, which benefits the local economy. All in all, this is an exciting time for the city."

Planning approval will be required for the youth zone. A planning application will be put in later this year, subject to approval from the county council's Cabinet on 9 June. This will include formal consultation as part of the usual planning process.

Some repair and maintenance work is already taking place on the bus station, with the main youth zone and other development work following, if planning approval is given.

Clare Price, Senior Conservation Adviser for the 20th Century Society, said: “The Twentieth Century Society have been involved in detailed consultations with the design team to ensure a secure future for the listed Preston Bus Station.

"The Society commends the team’s attention to detail in the Bus Station refurbishment and careful consideration of the impact of the new Youth Zone on the setting of the listed building.”

Once completed, the new building will be operated by OnSide Youth Zones, a national charity dedicated to providing modern youth facilities. Youth Zones aim to raise the aspirations, enhance prospects and improve health and wellbeing for young people, by providing affordable access to a wide range of programmes, services and activities including sports, arts, music, employability and mentoring.

The new youth zone will be open seven days a week, offering 20 activities every session for young people aged 8-19, or up to 25 for those with a disability.

Guy Topping, Chairman of Preston Youth Zone said: “We feel this new and improved design is hugely exciting for the city. The changes have been major steps forward in providing the young people of Preston and surrounding areas with a safe and inspiring place to spend their leisure time, whilst at the same time preserving the architectural integrity of the listed bus station. It was important for us to work closely with all stakeholders so that the final design has the best chance of securing planning consent and delivers the quality and range of facilities that Preston Youth Zone is determined to provide.”

Preston Youth Zone will contribute £1m towards the construction costs.

Preston-based Cassidy + Ashton Architects joined the project as planning consultants, bringing their local knowledge and experience. The other members of the design team include EngineersHRW (Structural Engineers), Skelly & Couch (Buildings Services Engineers) and Charcoalblue (Acoustics Specialist), along with representatives from Lancashire County Council.

The earliest that work could start on site is mid-September, subject to planning approval, with completion in early 2019.

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