£1.2m Winckley Square Gardens restoration approved

A £1.2m project to breathe new life into Preston’s historic Winckley Square Gardens will go ahead after a funding bid was approved.

Winckley Square - Model ViewThe Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund announced a bid for almost £950,000 for the restoration project was successful.

It has been described as a ‘big day in the history of Preston’ and comes four years after a campaign to renovate the gardens was launched by the Winckley Square Community Interest Company (WSCIC).

The project, which is also receiving funds from Preston’s Business Improvement District and smaller grants, will enable a ‘sympathetic restoration’ of the gardens to get underway as early as 2016.

The improvements to the gardens include the restoration of the Robert Peel statue, work to resolve the current flooding issues, new lighting, creating a social space, historical reference points and more.

David Gill, chairman and a cofounder of the WSCIC, said: “We’re delighted to see so much hard work come to fruition. We started this campaign because we felt Winckley Square was in danger of permanent decline. By the community coming together we have managed to create and fund an exciting new future for everyone connected with the Square."

The campaign to renovate the gardens started in 2011 when six local professionals started the WSCIC. It has since formed a partnership between environmental charity, Groundwork Cheshire, Lancashire and Merseyside, Preston City Council, Preston Business Improvement District (BID) and Lancashire County Council.

Councillor Jennifer Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council added: “Preston needs to be an attractive and welcoming place for visitors and businesses alike, and these proposals, at the heart of the professional services quarter of the city centre will play a major part in supporting business growth and investment in the city.

"We are continuing the improvements along Fishergate which provides a great opportunity to increase integration between the square and the city centre. "The development of the city centre is a core objective of the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal. These superb plans complement the City Deal work programme, which will boost growth and prosperity for the next decade and beyond."