The Preston Tithebarn Partnership, the joint venture between developers Grosvenor and Lend Lease, said 80% of respondents in its public consultation over the long-awaited Tithebarn retail scheme in the city centre supported the proposals.
The survey, audited by GVA Grimley, collated 800 written responses in May and June this year. The findings showed that 81% of respondents "believe that Preston Tithebarn will encourage more people to visit the city"; 78% feel that the project "will elevate the status of Preston in the North West"; and 74% said that it would make Preston "their first choice for shopping".
Anthony Gill, from the Preston Tithebarn Partnership, said: "The responses have been extremely interesting and encouraging. We have put a lot of time and energy into communicating with people about the plans and we now understand in more detail exactly what Prestonians want for the future of their city. The process has meant that we can refine our proposal to make it even more relevant.
"Views on Preston Bus Station were very interesting because whilst a number of people are keen to retain the current bus station, many acknowledged that it is difficult to get to and it feels unsafe, especially after dark. The designs for the new bus interchange are more open, with no steps or underpasses, so it will be easily accessible, more secure and clearly what the people want."
A planning application for the £700m project is expected in the autumn. The proposed scheme includes 1.5m sq ft of new shopping incorporating a John Lewis department store plus an additional department store and 98 other new shop units. The proposals include a range of bars and restaurants, a 10-screen cinema, new and refurbished markets, 400 new homes and 2,700 new car parking spaces. The masterplan outlines plans for enhanced public realm including public art, as well as a new bus station to serve the city.