Cooper Partnership’s Preston design a winner

Rachael Tinniswood

Design consultancy Cooper Partnership has won a competition organised by the partners behind Preston's Winckley Square development to come up with a new look for the city centre green space.

The winning design includes a fountain which doubles up as a stage, forming the centrepiece of the public area.

Granite walkways, fibre optic lights, as well as metal artwork and sculptured creations all add to the aesthetics of the regeneration project, which is being run by Preston City Council in partnership with Preston Vision Board, the North West Development Agency and the Landscape Institute.

A judging panel made up of representatives from Preston City Council, Preston Vision Board, the NWDA and CABE, decided that the Bristol-based Cooper Partnership's ideas had won it the £5,000 prize money.

Cllr Anthony Gornall, cabinet member for regeneration and chair of the judging panel that selected the winning design, said: "We were blown away by the quality of the winning design – it is absolutely tremendous. The design is contemporary, yet subtle, and wonderfully complements the trees that make Winckley Square a beautiful oasis in the city centre. The proposed 64-jet fountain, beautifully lit by state-of-the-art lighting will be a delightful attraction for Preston, especially as it can be used as a stage when the
water is turned off.

"The attractive leaf-lined, granite walkways combine superbly with new metal railings and sculptures proposed for the square. It is a very clever design, which, by making good use of light, would open up the square so as to draw and invite you in.

"These are exciting proposals and we can't wait to turn them into reality. We will continue to work closely with the NWDA and other partners to ensure that this winning design can indeed happen and we can breathe new life into Winckley Square."

Catherine Mitchell, from Cooper Partnership, said: "We spent a lot of time researching the history of the square and the city of Preston and wanted to design something that was breathtaking but also in keeping with the tradition of this beautiful 19th century square. We think we've got a good balance of new and existing character in the scheme and the feedback we've received has been great. We're really excited to be working on this project and are looking forward to seeing the design develop on site."

The next stage for the project is to develop the scheme into a sketch proposal for consultation and detail design development.

Details of the winning designs including plans and artists' impressions can be found at

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