Preston's iconic bus station has been approved for grade 2-listed status as a building of significant architectural and historic interest by culture minister Ed Vaizey, meaning that it is unlikely that it will now be demolished.
Preston City Council took an in principal decision to demolish Preston Bus Station in December 2012, citing high annual maintenance costs and capital investment requirements of between £17m and £23m to bring it up to modern standards.
Campaigners have been fighting for more than a decade for the building to be listed.
The concrete structure was designed in a British Brutalist syle by Manchester architectural practice BDP in the 1960s.
A spokesman for English Heritage, which advises Government on the criteria for listed buildings, said it falls to local planning authorities to decide any application for demolition of a grade 2-listed building.
A council spokesman said that demolition is only one option for Preston Bus Station.
He added: "The council could not simply grant itself planning permission to do what it wanted. If the council did want to demolish the bus station, it would have to apply for listed building consent for the building to be demolished.
"That application would be called in by a minister and would be likely to lead to a public inquiry."
Cllr Peter Rankin, leader of Preston City Council, said: "Obviously it's not the outcome we were hoping for. We've always said the bus station is too big, provides relatively poor facilities for bus passengers and costs Preston taxpayers over £300,000 a year to maintain.
"We will have to take some time now to consider the listing decision and the options for moving forward.
"In particular, we need to look at costs and the impact on budgets and how it affects Preston taxpayers. We will work closely with Lancashire County Council as transport authority to consider the next steps."
English Heritage had twice before recommended that the bus station, which has been under threat for more than 12 years, be given listed status.
Applications were turned down by the secretaries of state in 2000 and 2009.
Fresh hopes were raised for the station's survival after the collapse of the £700m, Lend Lease-backed Tithebarn shopping scheme in 2011.