Preston moves forward Youth Zone proposals

A planning application has been submitted for the £13m youth facility due to be built next to Preston’s grade two-listed bus station.

The Preston Youth Zone will house a wide range of activities for young people including sports, arts and music. If approved, the Youth Zone will be housed in a free-standing building designed by New York-based John Puttick Associates, on the city centre side of the bus station. The buses would continue to use the opposite side of the building.

The bus station and surrounding yard is owned by Lancashire County Council.

The total budget for the bus station improvement work and construction of the Youth Zone is around £24m. Preston Youth Zone will contribute £1m towards the project, with funding also coming from the Preston, South Ribble & Lancashire City Deal.

When the revamp of the bus station was first proposed last year, the Youth Zone was going to be built as an extension of the station. However, feedback from Historic England and The 20th Century Society criticised plans to construct directly onto the station’s listed Brutalist façade.

The Youth Zone is the latest in a series of planning applications for the bus station. Other changes include the creation of new public space outside the bus station on the city centre side, as well as changes to the road layout, the bus station concourse and the car park levels. Several planning applications have been submitted for these elements, with others to follow in the coming months.

Architect Puttick said: “One of our key objectives has been to design a building maximizing available public space in and around the bus station to create a major new square for Preston. This supports the civic quality of the project.

“It has also been important to respond to the proudly utilitarian quality of Preston Bus Station by designing a new neighbour that shares and celebrates this robustness just as a youth centre used for sport and as a place for creativity should do.

“Part of the building’s youthfulness, we hope, will be its openness and ability to engage young people, as well as provide them with a wide range of exciting facilities for them to explore.”

The earliest that work on the Youth Zone could begin is next year, subject to planning approval, with completion in 2018.

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