Ribchester House
The six-storey building was up for sale for £1.8m in 2012

Penthome eyes Preston office-to-resi conversion

Plans for the city’s latest apartment project have been submitted by developer Penthome, which aims to convert Ribchester House on Lancaster Road into 36 apartments. 

The six-storey office block, last marketed for sale for £1.8m in 2012, is home to law firm Forbes Solicitors and is located opposite Preston Combined Court Centre. 

A statement from Forbes said: “Although Forbes has occupied Ribchester House for more than 20 years, our continued presence there depends on the plans of the landlord who we understand may wish to change the use of the building to align with the retail and leisure development that is taking place around the building.

“Even if this is the case we fully intend to maintain a significant presence in the city centre for the foreseeable future.”

Under the plans, the building would be repurposed to contain 30 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom flats. 

The scheme has been designed by local architect Mellor Architects, and Wigan-based Steven Abbot Associates is the planner. 

Manchester-based Penthome is headed up by Robert Pinkus, whose property consultancy Robert Pinkus & Co has its offices in Preston’s Winkley Square. 

The scheme is the latest apartment project to be mooted for the city after Eastern Estates won approval for a sloping 21-storey block containing 80 apartments earlier this week. 

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Not sure about re-lifing concrete frames that are already circa 50 years old.

What criteria are the structural engineers / developers / insurers / funders using to reset the design life of a 1970s concrete frame?

Does anyone know? How are the Eurocodes being interpreted applied and what do the Concrete Society (UK) say about this?

By North by North-West

Hmmm, I do worry that Preston isn’t getting any better, just poor quality ‘office to resi’ re fits. Its a former great city, I hope they find a route through the recession to emerge in better shape from a built environment perspective.

By Clare Green

Preston`s never gonna be beautiful.

By Liverpool1

Preston town planners have a lot to answer for and they are still making a dog’s dinner of Preston!

By Makee

I can’t help feeling that this is a cheapskate way of ‘regenerating’ old office stock – it’s not the first time in Preston either.

Using office stock for residential projects can work depending if done well. In fact, the forthcoming Bishopsgate Gardens, a stone’s throw from Ribchester House, looks very promising for an unpromising site. The Heaton Group project involves a frame-strip with additions and facilities. Their Sorting Office development off Fishergate Hill in the city is quality – I was impressed with the finishes when I went past.

To undo some of the damage to Preston? Slim down the grey scar that is Ringway; the stretch of dual carriageway should be narrowed to a tree-lined boulevard with separate cycling and pedestrian capacity, therefore connecting the city centre and university sections together.