£8.3m renovation for Preston Bus Station

Ownership of Preston's controversial bus station is to pass to Lancashire County Council, paving the way for £8.3m in improvements to the grade 2-listed structure.

Current owner Preston City Council had proposed demolishing the Brutalist bus station, citing its poor condition and high running costs.

Campaigners secured listed status for the bus station earlier this year after a protracted battle.

The change of ownership and investment plans are subject to agreement at the councils' cabinet meetings on 5 December.

Keeping the building in public ownership, allowing Lancashire County Council as transport authority to invest in the building and improve facilities for passengers, as well as easing Preston City Council's financial situation are all key aspects of the deal.

Cllr Peter Rankin, leader of Preston City Council, said: "This is the best possible outcome for Preston and Lancashire, as the bus station is an important transport hub for the county.

"The deal will put to rest any doubt whatsoever over Preston Bus Station. The building's future will be 100% guaranteed. In fact, the county council will be able to invest in the building to improve the facilities for the thousands of people that use it every day. We have always wanted a bus station fit for the 21st century. The transfer will take us towards that goal.

"This, I know, will be very much welcomed by the people of Preston. So too will the fact that the city council will no longer have to find the money to run the building which, given the savage budget cuts imposed on Preston, was a significant financial strain for the city council. Lancashire County Council simply has the scale, expertise and resources to manage such a large building.

"I've always understood people's passion for Preston Bus Station and can see why many people want to keep it. Our past decision to demolish was purely a financial one. As a city council, we couldn't afford to either invest or indeed keep the building open.

"I am both relieved and delighted that the county council is set to take the building on and secure the future of Preston Bus Station for the people of Preston and Lancashire."

Preston City Council took an in principle decision to demolish Preston Bus Station in December 2012.

Lancashire County Council had set aside £8.3m in its capital programme to spend on a new bus station in Preston.

That money will now be used to improve the existing bus station building.

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