John Bridge

My Place | Preston

Preston’s momentum mustn’t stop at making its public realm look good: an innovative city-living strategy could be the key to its continued success, writes John Bridge of architect Studio John Bridge.

The future of Preston has felt up in the air in recent years, but since the regeneration of the city’s market, I feel that our council have shown the public that they mean business.

With the latest launch of the Stoneygate Masterplan, this energy and confidence is demonstrated further. Investing in Preston is a no brainer, but investing in the right way is key. It seems simple writing this out loud, but with the branded phrase ‘Preston Model’, there exists a process to the key of regeneration success.

Experience and resources are important foundations of any project, but combine that with local talent, knowledge and a deep passion for place and culture, and a fine “regeneration cocktail” can be concocted. That, I feel, is crucial for Preston’s renaissance to continue.

After the scrapping of the Tithebarn Project, which would have seen a major retail-led development of the city centre, redevelopment has taken a more local and inward investment approach. Now with the growth of the council’s city living strategy taking off, there is much more potential return on investment for developers. Those who invest in design-led schemes will see that paying dividends by raising the rental and sales values. It goes to show that if you build it well, the people will come.

The improved night life offer works towards an incentivised approach to retain traffic into the evening. Combined with investment into public realm, the award-winning Preston Bus Station and restored Winckley Square park, the city has never felt so loved. But it mustn’t stop there. The final pieces in the puzzle are far from complete, and further investment is required to realise the many more ideas and aims that we have for our city.

One of the ways our Council and business community have tried to steer this has been through the formation of a Preston Partnership. Having been formalised as a CIC in 2018, the goal is to support, inspire and help “connect the dots” with investors, professionals and the local authorities for economic success.

Preston born and bred, I have always dreamt of developing my home city into a thriving, sustainable eco-friendly place. A core purpose in my professional career to date has been to open people’s eyes to opportunity through creative thinking. With my continual love for Preston I plan to work on bringing people together, renovating buildings and spaces, and building new innovative architecture. As an architect, I have no shame in admitting that I want to look back when I’m old, and smile in all that we achieved, and how I have personally done my bit for our environment, our culture, and our city.

Your Comments

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No one likes the market .and I mean no one .I am all for making changes for the good .but no one is asking the people .they think we are stupid or negative .we are not .its cold pricy and will be shutting it down .before you know it if you dont do something . Preston no one wants to come here any more .open your ears and your eyes .listen to people who live here too.

By c melville

The city has changed so much is the last 10-15 yesrs. The pedestrianisation of Fishergate works and definitely a step in the right direction in the improvement and development of the city centre. Sadly, this cannot be said for the previously much loved Preston open & indoor market which I used on a regular basis and looked forward to the new changes many were looking forward to. What a disappointment! The market is freezing in the colder months. In the planning and development of the outdoor market, now encased in panelled windows someone clearly forgot to include bringing these to the top of this space. It’s also lost many of the stall holders that have left the market due to higher rates and now even the indoors stalls are struggling to survive.
So the question to ask is who are these changes helping? In the case of the market, clearing not shoppers, and the drop in the traffic shows it clearly effects stall holders. We have also the doomed future of the Guildhall looming. What next? The market parking is going. So what are the real benefits of these changes? Preston has the scope to have a busling market again if it had gone down the Bury Market idea. Making it accessible and affordable to many more demographics. I hope there council and stall holders are coming together to find ways of making the markets more attractive. It’s quite worrying how many of our local landmarks are changing and unfortunately not for the better

By Ms M Nayli

Regeneration cocktail?, I don’t know what planet you live on, but I highly doubt it’s planet Earth, the council never gives the people what they want, misery & despair, that’s Preston council, as are the rest. Let’s spend millions on students, nobody who lives In Preston wants that, let’s just ignore the 100”s of homeless people meandering around the town & do nothing about it?, let’s build a roofless greenhouse in the middle of the market that nobody but the council want, & in doing so destroy both a thriving market & very successful car boot, trust me the people of Preston are ignored by the council suits, & we really don’t want them anymore, it’s time for change

By The unheard mass

The market is going to close . I overheard traders saying there all going. The council have killed of local businesses . Shame on them ! Why spend all that money on bus station when the buses they drive are bangers. Soon Preston city centre will be a ghost town .

By Anonymous

Preston center is like a building site, with the market destroyed, the fairs shoved out, empty shops the list goes on.
The present model of putting a hotel in what could be prime retail space beggars belief.
The Fishergate pavements are littered with tables and chairs causing a serious obstruction issue.
The council are not interested in these many issues and should resign.

By A Smith

The ” regeneration of the market” ? You mean the destruction of the market. This is what happens when pretentious planners and a city council who have no concept of how business works get together. I live in the city centre and the city council are more interested in handing out parking fines than doing anything about the drug users and beggars
Maybe Mr Bridge should stop worrying about his old age and the use of annoying language and work out what actually works for Preston.

By Jack Smith

Putting businesses in little boxes and surrounding market stalls in glass and metal seems to be working against your “vision” for Preston city regeneration.
You have created barriers against customers and stallholders. You have made a once-thriving market into a disaster. Give it a year and I reckon the occupancy of the market’s stallholders will be down even further. I think your ego needs putting in check Mr Bridge.

By Laura Mason

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