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Exciting plans for The Harris

The Harris will temporarily close from 5pm on Saturday 2 October.

Your city

Preston lamb

Securing investment; improving assets and infrastructure; attracting high quality jobs; creating a city with a strong cultural and leisure offer.

You can download a full copy of the Icon for pdf Achieving Preston's Priorities (APP) 2021/22 [2.51MB] document here.

What actions are we taking?

Culture and Leisure

Outdoor Events continued to be suspended whilst Preston remains under Covid restrictions.

Planning is underway for alternative approaches to event delivery building on the live streamed music events piloted in 2020 and when permitted Covid safe delivery of events and public programme to resume.

Encounter Festival has been rescheduled to September 2021, the festival business plan developed and a steering group formed to help manage the development of the planning. The Festival Producer continues to oversee the management of the event and building the infrastructure for delivery. The festival will remain within the local authority for the immediate term, whilst the funding landscape is assessed.

The Preston Cultural Framework Board has recently appointed the Council's Head of Culture as the Chair and is seeking to broaden the board membership from the independent arts sector and targeted sectors.

The board is working collaboratively with the independent arts sector to develop a new 12 year Cultural Strategy for the City, the publication has been delayed due to Covid and is now due to be published in the spring of 2021.

The strategy will align with the new City Investment Plan and aim to support the Covid recovery of the City.

Re-imagining the Harris

The Round two National Lottery Heritage Fund application for £4.5m has been submitted and a decision is due in March.

Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent has been approved by the Planning Committee in early January.

Fundraising continues with the launch of a public giving campaign and applications to Trusts and Foundations. Upon a successful award from the Heritage Fund the delivery phase of the project will start from April 2021 and run through to 2024.

Harris Museum and Art Gallery

The Harris continues to offer a restricted public service under the current Covid restrictions with limited library services and book able IT sessions available.

The majority of the programme has moved online and is available on the Harris website and social media, planning continues around new ways of delivering the offer.

When possible the team is ready to re-open to the public and has the necessary infrastructure to ensure a Covid safe environment.

Preston City Investment Plan and Town Deal Bid

Preston was one of 101 towns and cities identified for a potential allocation of up to £25m, a government regeneration initiative.

A Board of community representatives, businesses and other organisations has been established and a City Investment Plan and Towns Deal bid was submitted in July 2020.

The priorities are focused in and around the Harris Quarter and the City Centre.

The City Investment Plan is based on 6 key priorities for the city:

  1. Transform Preston's cultural infrastructure, focusing on our cultural and leisure facilities, spaces and programmes. (basis of Town Deal submission)
  2. Supporting Preston's economic recovery, skills, growth and resilience.
  3. Delivering a new commercial district at Preston Station Quarter.
  4. Deliver a ground-breaking approach to community health and well-being in the city.
  5. Expand and diversify the housing supply to significantly boost city centre living.
  6. Achieve a step change in sustainable movement and accessibility in the city by delivering Preston's Transport Plan.

The bid to the Towns Fund was for £25m covering 9 projects:

  1. Re-Imagining the Harris
  2. Animate (Cinema and Leisure Scheme)
  3. Renewal of Harris Quarter Assets
  4. Harris Quarter Illuminate and Integrate
  5. Animation of Public Spaces
  6. Preston Youth Zone
  7. Inspiring Preston (Careers and Employment Information Hub)
  8. Cultural Capacity Building
  9. Health and Well-Being Capacity Building

At the time of writing, the Council was still awaiting the outcome of the bid.

Subject to a positive response from the government, detailed business cases will be put together for the successful projects and the projects started during 2021.

Harris Quarter Pop Ups

Also under the Towns Fund initiative, the government has offered the Council a grant of £1m accelerated funding to be spent in 2021.

The Towns Fund Board elected to put the grant towards kick-starting the revitalisation of the Harris Quarter by commissioning a series of projects to attract people back into the city centre in a safe environment.

The main initiative is the creation of a Mobile Temporary Events Space that can host performances or other events that can be initially sited in the Harris Quarter, but which can be readily moved to other locations in due course.

The Harris Quarter Pops Up project will be largely completed by the end of the year.

Animate (Harris Quarter Cinema and Leisure Scheme)

Progress on the scheme during 2020 was inevitably delayed by the Covid pandemic, but there is commitment from all parties to pick up momentum again in 2021 once the pandemic subsides.

This key city centre scheme will support regeneration and community wealth building with the asset in local public ownership.

It is anticipated that during 2021 agreements will be signed with the developer and lead operators, which will be followed by a revised planning application.

Transforming Friargate North and Ring Way and City Centre Public Realm

In March 2020, Lancashire County Council was awarded £40m from the Transforming Cities Fund to invest in public and sustainable transport and connectivity. £15m of this award has been allocated to Transforming Friargate North and Ring Way.

The scheme is being designed to improve access and journey times in and out of Preston city centre, including to the railway and bus stations, and the university, by bus and other active travel modes such as cycling, particularly from north, west and south Preston and neighbouring districts.

It will also enhance this area of Preston improving accessibility and public realm to create a more attractive and vibrant area for shopping and eating.

It will reduce the impact of Ring Way to make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to move between the Harris Quarter and UCLan and include the pedestrianisation of Friargate. It will provide enhanced cycling provision, a transformative new signal controlled crossing point at Friargate/Ring Way junction, new bus interchange stops at this junction alongside bus priority at the Corporation Street junction, a bus gate on Corporation Street, a new cycle hub, cycle paths along Ring Way, and a cycle route along Butler Street, linking the Railway Station to Avenham and Millar Parks and beyond.

Design work and initial consultation with local stakeholders is underway and it is expected that formal public consultation will commence later in 2021.

Elsewhere in the city centre there will be further improvements to public realm brought forward subject to funding from the Towns Fund Bid.

Preston Railway Station

A Preston Station Quarter Board has been established and is attended by senior representatives from Preston City Council, Lancashire County Council and UCLan.

The Board has authorised the development of a master-plan-led regeneration framework centred on the Railway Station designed to capitalise on the opportunities afforded by the arrival of HS2 trains.

The creation of a new commercial district in Preston Station Quarter is one of the key priorities of the City Investment Plan. It is anticipated that the framework will have been prepared, consulted upon and completed by the end of 2021.

Cottam Parkway Railway Station

The remaining £25m of the £40m Transforming Cities Fund award has been allocated to the delivery of a new station at Cottam that will improve access and journey times in and out of Preston city centre by rail and active travel modes, from north west Preston.

The station will be accessed from the Preston Western Distributor road which is currently under construction.

The station will serve both existing residential areas and the North West Preston strategic housing area where over 5,300 houses are being built through the City Deal programme.

It is anticipated that between 3 and 5 train services an hour could call at the new station, providing a frequent service to Preston and Blackpool, direct local connections to Blackburn, Burnley, Leyland and Chorley and further connections to Greater Manchester and the airport, Liverpool, Leeds, York, the Midlands and London.

Approximately 1,000 passengers per day could use the station.

Design work and stakeholder engagement on the project will continue throughout 2021.

Winckley Square Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI)

Due to delays caused by the Covid pandemic the Winckley Square THI programme has been extended again to September 2021 to allow an existing scheme that is on-site to be completed and to explore further opportunities for shop front improvements on Cannon Street.

A shop-front scheme on Cannon Street was successfully completed during 2020 and the street has seen further investment following the transformational public realm works that were undertaken earlier in the programme.

University of Central Lancashire (UcLan)

Completion of the £60m Student Centre, new public square and the extensive highway remodelling at the front of the main campus are due to be completed during 2021.

Together with the Engineering Innovation Centre which opened in 2019, this will see the completion of the most transformational elements of the £200m UCLan master-plan.

City Living Preston and Stoneygate

The Preston City Living Strategy was originally launched in 2017 and has been instrumental in kick starting an impressive turnaround in city centre living as numerous residential schemes have come forward since that time.

A fully updated and expanded City Living Prospectus was launched at an online event in October 2020 attended by over 100 people from the development and investment community. Follow-up discussions with 21 developers have taken place and are continuing into 2021.

The expanded City Living prospectus promotes 27 sites in the city centre and inner urban areas of Preston. Over the last 18 months over 400 new homes have been completed in the inner part of the city (out of a total of 1,121 across the whole borough), approximately 450 are currently under construction and a further 1,500 have planning permission.

In September 2020 the Preston City Living Strategy won the prestigious Planning for Increased Housing Delivery Award and the overall Editor's Choice Award at the national Planning Awards 2020 with the judges commenting that the strategy delivers 'real social and environmental benefits', 'real benefits for local people' and is an 'exemplar approach to kick starting brownfield sites'.

The principal area of focus for City Living Preston is the Stoneygate area of Preston where is the potential
for over 1,600 new homes on brownfield sites ranging in size from over 300 new dwellings to small sites for a handful of units.

The Stoneygate Regeneration Framework was completed and launched in 2019. The Framework, which promotes an Urban Village concept, demonstrates how a residential-led strategy will transform this underused part of the City Centre into a thriving and vibrant mixed use quarter.

A Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which translates the principles of the Framework into planning policies that will influence all future planning applications in the area, was adopted in June 2020.

Implementation of the Stoneygate Regeneration Framework and SPD is being delivered through the City Living Strategy and in partnership with Homes England.

Shankly Hotel - the former Post Office

The conversion of the former Post Office into a boutique hotel and conference / wedding venue has continued through 2020 and is expected to be completed during 2021.

City Deal and Preston Western Distributor (PWD) Road

Work on the PWD has been underway for over 12 months and good progress continues to be made despite challenges presented by poor weather and the Covid pandemic.

Completion is still expected in 2023.

Work has also started on the 2-mile East-West Link Road that will connect the PWD to Lightfoot Lane, opening up further residential sites within the North West Preston strategic housing area. Other recent City Deal projects include the completion of the Fishergate Central Gateway public realm improvements linking the railway station and bus station and Cottam Parkway Railway station as referenced above.

Promoting the City

Opportunities to promote the City during 2020 were significantly reduced as a result of the Covid pandemic. Nonetheless, opportunities that have arisen through initiatives such as the City Investment Plan and Towns Fund bid, the launch of City Living Preston and Re-imagining the Harris have been made the most of, with significant positive media coverage at local and regional levels.

Subject to a positive response from the Government, the new City Investment Plan and Towns Fund projects will be central to the promotion of the City throughout 2021.

The focus for the Preston Partnership during 2020 was the creation and operation of the Towns Fund Board.

In 2021 it is envisaged that the Preston Partnership will resume its regular programme of events, establish a new dedicated website to promote activity within the City and reinforce its role as an influential ambassador for the City.

Parks and Leisure Strategy 2019 - 2029

Following a procurement process Knight Kavanagh and Page (KKP) Consultants were successful and were awarded the contract in January 2020 to develop the Parks and Leisure Strategy.

An initial planning meeting took place with PCC Parks team in February 2020 outlining the structure of the strategy and planned approach moving forward. This has since been delayed due to the Covid-19 situation and the Government lockdown approach, which has meant the consultation process of the strategy is currently unable to be achieved.

This piece of work will be completed by March 2021 with a draft copy presented to Council in April 2021 to be signed off and approved.

Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF) Moor Park

The Council is looking for funding towards Moor Park Phase 2 which would include the restoration of the Serpentine lake, improved play area facilities, and restoration of a number of historical significant features.

The Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) 2021

Recent announcement in June 2020 that the Welsh Dragons (Men's Team) have been allocated to Preston as their training base camp for the RLWC 2021.

The announcement was also the official 500 day count down to the start of the tournament. From September 2020 onwards planning discussions will take place between Preston and the Welsh team in preparation for their arrival in September 2021.

A virtual Planning meeting with representatives from the City and the Welsh Dragons took place late November 2020 and everything is in place as we build up to the event in October 2021.

Preston North End Football Trust have now also successfully appointed a full time Rugby League Development Officer for the City and they have started work within local schools.

Preston Guild Hall

The tenant of the Guild Hall, Preston Guild Hall Limited, went into administration in 2019 and the Council took the decision to forfeit the lease.

The decision was taken with the agreement of the appointed Administrator.

Following the forfeiture, the Council took steps to seek a suitable qualified and experienced theatre / venue operator who could reinvigorate the closed venue. However, those efforts have been undermined by proceedings being issued against the Council and the company in administration in December 2019 challenging the Council's decision to forfeit the lease and by the ongoing pandemic.

The Guild Hall is a significant City centre landmark and the Council continues working to achieve a positive outcome for it.
Working in partnership

  • Preston Partnership - independent, private-sector led organisation for bringing together people
    from all sectors who are passionate about the City.
  • City of Preston Town - sub-group of the Preston Partnership established to oversee the preparation and implementation of the City Investment Plan and Towns Fund bid/grant.
  • Preston Station Quarter Board - a board of senior officers from Preston City Council, Lancashire County Council and UCLan to oversee the strategic case and delivery of commercial development within the Preston Station Quarter.
  • UCLAN Campus - a Preston City Council, Lancashire County Council and UCLAN partnership
    working together to regenerate and improve the campus and surrounding area.
  • City Deal Executive and Stewardship Board - a board with representation from Preston City Council, Lancashire County Council and South Ribble Borough Council which governs investment of the City Deal money.
  • Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) - collaboration of leaders from business, universities and local councils, who direct economic growth and drive job creation.
  • Winckley Square Community Interest Company - a not for profit organisation established in 2011 to help drive the revival of Preston's historic Winckley Square
  • Shadow Lancashire Combined Authority (LCA) - focused around key themes such as Prosperous Lancashire, Connected Lancashire, Skilled Lancashire, Better Homes for Lancashire, Joined up Public Services for Lancashire
  • Key Cities - the Council is a founder member of the Key Cities Group
  • Cultural Framework - with our creative partners in the City we have established a Cultural Framework Board. The board is leading on the cultural vision for the City linking to our broader place making agenda

What impact are we making?

Icon for pdf The Achieving Preston's Priorities document [2.51MB] sets out the impact the Council hopes to make in each of its strategic priority areas.

During 2020/21 and beyond we are making a significant impact in the City working alongside our partners:

  • Working alongside the Towns Fund Board, the City Council has produced a new City Investment Plan setting out the challenges ahead and a route map for the development of the City over the next 15 years. The City Investment Plan underpins the £25m bid that has been made to government under the Town Deal.
  • Preston Markets continues to evolve and recent improvements such as the walkway canopies are providing a much improved local shopping facility. Traders have demonstrated great resilience through the Covid pandemic by maintaining an important source of fresh food for Preston residents. A new internal canopy roof has been installed to help with temperature control in the Market Hall.
  • Despite the challenges to the leisure industry created by the Covid pandemic, a positive dialogue on the delivery of Animate (Harris Quarter Cinema and Leisure Scheme) has continued throughout the year between the Council, Maple Grove Developments and the key operators with a view to momentum being picked up again in 2021 once the pandemic has subsided.
  • The Preston Shankly Hotel is due to open in 2021.
  • Work on the design and delivery £40m Transforming Cities Fund projects (Cottam Parkway Railway Station and Transforming Friargate North and Ring Way) got underway.
  • The public realm works around Preston Bus Station were completed to complement the building refurbishment that was finished the previous year.
  • City Living Preston has been fully updated and expanded to include 27 residential sites across the city centre and inner Preston. The City Living Prospectus was launched in October 2020.
  • The development framework for Stoneygate was adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). Implementation of the development framework and SPD is underway.
  • The Heritage Lottery Funded Winckley Square Townscape Heritage Initiative has been extended again to allow further schemes to be completed.
  • The Stage 2 Heritage Lottery submission for Re-imagining the Harris project was made in November 2020.
  • At UCLan significant progress was made on the Student Centre, new public square and highway remodelling which are all due for completion during 2021.
  • Work on the Preston Western Distributor Road has been underway for over a year and is progressing on schedule in spite of the challenges presented by poor weather and the Covid pandemic.

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