Preston orphanage site up for grabs

A plot housing the grade two-listed former Harris Park orphanage in Fulwood, Preston is being offered for sale, with a total of 15.33 acres available at the Garstang Road site.

Cushman & Wakefield is marketing the site for its owner, Lancashire property investor Yousuf Bhailok, who acquired the site in 2006. Bhailok most recently hit the headlines with a withdrawn bid for the collapsed BHS in April 2016.

The estate, in largely residential Fulwood, is billed as a residential development opportunity, although C&W’s marketing brochure adds that it would be suitable for a number of uses subject to planning. The site has various consents in place, the most recent being a listed building consent secured by Cassidy + Ashton, which is retained as planner, in 2016 that included works to the frontage and improving vehicular access.

Alex Isles, senior surveyor in C&W’s residential team in Manchester, told Place North West: “This is a fantastic opportunity to purchase a site with significant history and potential for redevelopment. We expect high interest and are looking forward to engaging with the market on this unique site.”

The front of the site houses the former orphanage buildings, while the open space to the rear formerly housed a cricket ground. The buildings were set out as homes around a village green by the Harris Trustees after the land was gifted to Preston by philanthropist Edmund Robert Harris in the 1870s, with the orphanage opening in 1888. There are 12 listed structures, including eight houses and a master’s residence.

The then-Preston Polytechnic bought the site for student accommodation in 1985, and on becoming the University of Central Lancashire in 2000, it developed it as Harris Knowledge Park, using it for education, conferencing and other events.

Following pre-application discussions, the vendor’s professional team believes that the optimum size of development for the site is for a scheme that includes 65 houses on the former recreation ground, along with the conversion and extension of listed and non-listed buildings into 10 “executive” houses, three townhouses and six apartments.

A further three executive homes would be built on the site of the non-listed Yew Tree House, laundry building, cricket pavilion and games room, which would be demolished.

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A handsome, characterful site which could provide a much needed green lung for the city. It’s nice to know the Victorian buildings will be protected. We can use them to compare with the new “properties” that will be built on the former sports field, and thereby judge how far the building industry has fallen in the last 100 years.

By Moomo

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