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Heritage watchdog presses case for Preston Bus Station

Words: Huw Morris
Preston bus station

The battle of Preston Bus Station grinds on as English Heritage says 'other uses could be explored'

Preston Bus Station could be a “unique selling point” for regenerating the city centre, according to English Heritage.

Culture secretary Ed Vaizey granted the station a Grade II listing last September. Preston City Council had decided to demolish the brutalist-style station, which costs £300,000 a year to maintain and needs significant investment – estimated at between £17 million and £23 million – to bring it up to modern standards.

In a report to the city council, English Heritage says the “power and presence of the bus station is undeniable”, and that other uses for the building could be explored. The watchdog likens the station to Tate Modern, the Millennium Dome and Park Hill in Sheffield as modern buildings reborn with alternative uses.

“A creative and imaginative approach is required which could harness the substantial goodwill towards the building evident within architectural and other circles,” the report says. “The approach could include a programme of interim or pop-up uses and possible an international designer/developer competition to explore future long-term uses and how it might better link with the city centre and other complexes such as the Guildhall Centre, whilst at the same time providing new uses needed in Preston.”

The report is due to go to the city council’s cabinet meeting next Wednesday. The station was recently transferred to Lancashire County Council at a cost of £1.