Plans in for £10.7m Harris revamp

The overhaul of Preston’s grade one-listed museum, gallery and library has progressed, with the submission of a planning application for the project.

The #HarrisYourPlace scheme is intended to preserve the Victorian building and “deliver a new vision for the Harris as a community hub and world-class cultural attraction fit for the 21st century”.

Opened in 1893, the central Preston venue is owned and managed by the city council. The plans have been produced by Manchester-based Buttress Architects, and concept design plans by Ralph Appelbaum Associates. Focus Consultants is on board as project manager.

Buttress landed the £450,000 contract to design the project in January, releasing concept designs in June.

A bid for £4.5m from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to enable delivery of #HarrisYourPlace will be made in November. This will be backed by £3.6m from other sources, including the city council; Lancashire County Council; the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal; Arts Council England; and local supporters. Efforts to raise further funding support are ongoing. The project has advanced this far following a successful round one Lottery funding bid.

Included in the plans are accentuating an original entrance, introducing a new internal lift and staircase and removing mezzanines to open out the full original galleries. Proposals also include conservation works to the roof and basement, addressing damp issues that have affected the building.

Cllr Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services at Lancashire County Council, said: “It is hugely important for Lancashire that The Harris maintains its central role within our county’s rich heritage. Reaching such a major milestone for our iconic attraction is very positive news for Lancashire’s cultural economy.”

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