Preston’s East Cliff complex set to be restored

The site of the former Park Hotel overlooking Avenham and Miller Park is set to be brought back into use as a mixed-use destination featuring a four-star hotel and office space.

The scheme will see the former Park Hotel, first opened in 1882, restored to hotel use; it was most recently used as office by Lancashire County Council. This building, which is not listed, will house 71 guest bedrooms along with dining rooms, meeting rooms, and conference facilities.

Alongside, the existing office building, erected in the 1960s, will be demolished and replaced with a mixed-use five-storey building which will be used for offices on the lower two floors, along with a further 44 hotel rooms on the upper floors. Lancashire County Council Pension Fund staff is set to take the ground and first floors.

A pavilion building will also be built immediately to the east of the Park Hotel building, overlooking Avenham and Miller Park, to be used as a banqueting suite for up to 500 people.

No.8 East Cliff, a grade two-listed building, will also be converted from its former use as an office into a spa to serve the hotel.

The mixed-use scheme is being brought forward by the Local Pension Partnership, a joint venture between Lancashire County Council and the London Pensions Fund Authority. Cassidy & Ashton is the architect, working with Frank Whittle Partnership as project manager and cost consultant.

The Park Hotel was acquired by the developer in 2016.

Lancashire County Council’s planning committee is due to discuss the scheme next week with a recommendation for approval.

Planning officers said the project “would ensure long-term vitality and viability of a vacant heritage asset” that would support the city centre.

Chris Taylor, project architect at Cassidy and Ashton, said: “We have designed a scheme that adds a much-needed four star hotel to Preston hospitality provision for both business guests and tourists.

“Perhaps as important, we are restoring a major city landmark to its former glory and by adding wedding, conference and spa facilities for hotel guests and the public we will be creating a lot of new jobs in the hospitality sector.”

David Robinson, managing partner at FWP, said: “Protecting heritage assets is important to the culture of a city and Preston has many fine civic and private buildings to be proud of.

“Some are being reimagined and improved like the new market hall, the Harris museum and library or the bus station.

“Others, like the Guild Hall entertainment complex or the old central post office, have been taken into private hands and given a new lease of life.

“The Park Hotel is one of the most prominent landmarks visitors see when arriving into Preston by rail from London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds or Liverpool. Knowing the distinctive red brick building is a luxury hotel immediately tells them Preston is an ambitious, forward-looking city.”

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As an employee at LCC, I was often at the East Cliff building and have always admired both the exterior architecture and the original internal features. It is very sad to see the building falling into disrepair. I look forward to seeing “Park Hotel” brought back to life. Any ideas when this will happen?

By Anonymous

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