City tries again post-Tithebarn

The latest attempt to kick-start development in Preston city centre is a development prospectus to promote areas of opportunity.

The aborted Tithebarn retail scheme is mentioned in passing although the name does not appear in the chapter covering that area – renamed Markets Quarter, Bus Station and St John's.

Lend Lease pulled the plug on Tithebarn after anchor retailer John Lewis withdrew in Novermber 2011.

The development prospectus, launched last week at an event in Manchester, said: "The extensive development previously promoted for the area has been impacted upon by economic circumstances. Following a commercial review of deliverable options the Councils envisage that the above objectives can now be readily addressed through coordinated incremental projects based on the three sites shown on the plan overleaf."

The bus station and markets are owned by Preston City Council. Land Securities acquired St John's shopping centre for £5.39m from Grosvenor in October.

Lend Lease's development agreement with Preston City Council expired at the end of March 2012 and was not renewed. A spokesman for the council said Lend Lease was still interested in the city.

The council's development prospectus describes the priorities for the area as:

  • Revitalisation of the markets
  • Provision of a City Centre cinema with restaurants and bars
  • Upgrading of public transport facilities to meet modern requirements
  • Transformed public realm
  • Preservation and enhancement of the city's heritage and cultural assets
  • Enhancement of the city's retail offer

Other areas outlined for development include Fishergate Central, Winckley Square, a new central business district between the rail station and university, and Horrockses Quarter.

Jim Carter, chairman of Preston Vision and deputy chairman of developer-contractor Eric Wright, said: "Private sector investment is essential if the potential of Preston is to be fully realised over the coming years.

"The city and the county councils are demonstrating a new resolve to collaborate and address the current challenging market conditions.

"There is a wide range of opportunities and the city centre is open for business."

Lorraine Norris, chief executive of Preston City Council, said: "The city has a great deal to offer in terms of development opportunities and this prospectus not only highlights these but also signals a commitment from the partners of the Vision Board to the regeneration of the city centre.

"We are delighted that there is so much interest in Preston from the private sector and we are determined to ensure they are a part of our vision for the future of the city."

Phil Halsall, chief executive of Lancashire County Council, added: "A successful and thriving Preston is important not just for the immediate area but for the whole of Lancashire.

"Attracting new businesses is a vital part of that success. We will continue to work closely with the city council and the private sector to bang the drum for investment in Preston."

Preston Vision is a partnership of Preston City Council, Lancashire County Council, University of Central Lancashire and private sector partners.

A further event in Preston is planned for later in the year.

View the development prospectus here

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