Preston’s brutalist bus garage.
Hopes have been raised that Preston’s 1960s brutalist bus station could be saved after it emerged that talks are taking place about revising plans for the city’s Tithebarn redevelopment.
Developer Lend Lease is holding discussions with the city council about downsizing its £700 million retail scheme because of financial concerns. Details as to how the scheme will be revised have not yet emerged, but campaigners have called on the council to reconsider plans for the bus station’s demolition.
Council leader Peter Rankin said discussions with Lend Lease were confidential but he admitted: “There may be a revision. I’m sure you’ve noticed that we’re in a retail recession and the developer needs to make sure that they have got everything right.”
The bus station was built in 1969 and designed by BDP, which is also architect for the new Tithebarn development.
A listing application made by the Twentieth Century Society and supported by English Heritage was turned down last February.
Jon Wright, caseworker at the Twentieth Century Society, said: “This is no ordinary bus station. It is clearly an important heritage asset for Preston and it is eminently reusable.
“Like all brutalism it can be fairly radically altered without too much impact and there are certain bits that are more significant than others.
“We would urge the council to look again at retaining this fantastic building because it’s very clear lots of local people are going to regret and lament its loss.”
A council spokeswoman said: “As part of the Tithebarn scheme, the current bus station will be demolished and replaced. That’s always been the case. We have not made a decision on any changes yet.”
A spokeswoman for English Heritage said: “Our listing recommendation recognised that Preston bus garage is one of the most impressive civic buildings of its day but equally we recognise the need to develop Preston town centre and are supportive of this. Should revisions come forward we will of course consider them.”
Lend Lease declined to comment.
7 December 2012
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