New hotel for Preston landmark building
The former Park Hotel which overlooks Miller Park in Preston could become a hotel once again.
A deal has been approved between Lancashire County Pension Fund and Lancashire County Council, subject to conditions, to transfer the building to the pension fund, which will finance a redevelopment of the site.
The multi-million pound scheme will create a luxury hotel in the historic building on East Cliff, offices for the pension fund itself, and a spa facility.
The plans include the demolition of the 1960s office block on the site, replacing it with a brand new building, which will extend the hotel, providing high quality conference and office facilities.
Discussions have been taking place with a preferred hotel operator about running the new hotel. Ownership of the site would remain with the pension fund.
The former Park Hotel building will form the centrepiece of the new development. A new bridge is also planned.
The building, which opened in 1883, was formerly a luxury hotel for rail travellers and served as a gateway to the north.
Planning permission will be needed for the scheme to become a hotel. An application will be submitted shortly to Preston City Council as the local planning authority. This will include the usual consultation process.
The investment by the pension fund will provide the necessary capital to develop this site from a £100m fund specifically identified for projects within Lancashire.
The East Cliff site is currently owned and used by Lancashire County Council, but will become surplus to requirements as the council reduces the number of buildings it owns, as part of delivering its savings programme.
Jennifer Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "This is fantastic news as it represents a major, multi-million pound investment in the city centre.
"It's another development that, together with the huge amount of activity and investment surrounding the City Deal, tells potential investors that this area is on the up and looking to the future.
"We're pleased to be using one of the council's buildings in this way to unlock economic potential and support growth."
County Councillor Kevin Ellard, chair of the Lancashire County Pension Fund, said "I'm delighted that our Pension Fund's property managers have been able to secure this excellent development, which will bring this iconic part of the Preston landscape back to its original use.
"Not only will this renaissance of the Victorian-era Park Hotel enhance this part of the city, it will also boost the leisure and commercial offer to residents and visitors alike."
As part of the wider plans to regenerate the area, the bridge on East Cliff will be replaced. Following the agreement to transfer the property, a planning application will be submitted to Preston City Council to replace the bridge with a new structure, which is in keeping with the surrounding conservation area.
A separate plan will also seek to establish a new footpath and cycleway created from the park to the railway station, to link with the Guild Wheel.
The redevelopment of the site represents a substantial investment in the city centre, which supports the work of the £434m Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal to address strategic transport infrastructure challenges and deliver new jobs.
City Deal aims to deliver improvements to roads and public transport, making it easier for people to get around and bring new people into the city, which benefits the local economy.
NB: A report commissioned by Preston City Council identified a need for more hotel rooms in Preston: www.preston.gov.uk/yourservices/planning/planning-policy/evidence/ (Report included on the left, fourth from the bottom of the list)