Charles House Preston Winckley Square
The five-storey office building will house HM Revenue & Customs staff until later this year

Preston’s Charles House earmarked for 70 flats

Sarah Townsend

Plans have been lodged to convert a Government tax office into a block of apartments, shortly after the property was put on the market for £4m this month.

The five-storey, 39,200 sq ft office building at 8 and 8a Winckley Square in Preston city centre, was built to house HM Revenue & Customs, which currently occupies the building on a 25-year lease from 2003, but intends to vacate the property this year.

It is one of several tax offices across the North West that have been earmarked for closure by Whitehall as part of a strategy to consolidate its staff in fewer buildings and cut costs.

The property is up for sale with local Lancashire-based agency Morgan Martin, but its current owner remains the Inland Revenue until a sale completes.

Under an office-to-residential application submitted last week by a third party, Doncaster-based investor Empire Property Concepts, thought to be a prospective buyer, the building would be converted into 70 apartments.

The units would comprise 58 one-bedroom apartments and 12 two-bedroom apartments. DLP is named as the planning consultant on the scheme and the architect is SLA Design.

Charles House occupies the site of the former residence of local family member John Dalton of Thurnham Hall, which was one of the first to be built in Winckley Square.

That building was demolished in the 1960s and replaced in 1968 by the current office block that housed HM Revenue & Customs.

Nearby occupiers at the city-centre site include Napthens Solicitors, Moore & Smalley accountants, Vincents Solicitors, Harrison Drury Solicitors and others. The central park area of Winckley Square has undergone £1m of investment recently to transform the public park.

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