£1m Winckley Square project wins Lottery support

Proposals for a sympathetic improvement of Preston’s Winckley Square have moved a step closer after receiving a funding boost.

Winckley SquareEnvironmental charity, Groundwork Lancashire West and Wigan, in partnership with Winckley Square Community Interest Company, a group helping to spearhead the revival of the Square, and Preston City Council, has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund for its Winckley Square Futures Project.

The Winckley Square Futures Project aims to create and implement a new vision for the Georgian square which will include a series of physical improvements to enhance access, security and drainage, celebrate the heritage of the area and enable users enjoy the green space to its fullest potential.

The outline vision was developed by the partnership in 2013 and having received a first-round pass, the partnership will develop full scale proposals over the coming months involving a further public consultation. HLF has awarded the partnership £22,500 to develop the detailed plans for the project, currently estimated at £1million.

David Gill, chairman of WSCIC, said: “This is wonderful news and the culmination of a lot of hard work that has gone on behind the scenes since 2011. There is a lot of work still to be done to secure the funding but the fact HLF support the outline plans is a huge step in the right direction.

“Everything we are doing is geared towards creating a sympathetic improvement of the Square, improving its usability. That is what the community stipulated in our public consultation in 2011 and 2012.

“We are now working on a detailed stage two application which will be ready for summer 2014.”

Councillor Robert Boswell, cabinet member for environment, said: “This is fantastic news for the whole city. This announcement reaffirms the Heritage Lottery Fund’s support for the area as it has already proposed to support a project to restore the buildings on the square. It will give the whole area a lift and hopefully kick start investment and regeneration which will bring economic benefits.”

WSCIC was founded in 2011 by local professionals David Gill, Simon Turner, Mick Goode, John Chesworth, Richard McDowell and Mark Clarkson, who are directors of WSCIC.

In addition to the founding members, the board of directors includes representatives from Preston City Council, BID and Preston Historical Society.

The Business Improvement District pledged an initial £30,000 to WSCIC in 2011 and a further £150,000 over five years after securing a second five-year term in December 2011.

WSCIC conducted a public consultation in 2012. Over 250 members of the public took part wishing a sympathetic restoration of the Square. In 2013, over 100 people participated in a more detailed survey which has informed the development of the vision for the green space.

In April 2013, it was announced that Preston City Council had received initial support for a Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), which will improve the condition of some of the significant buildings of the Square, and aspects of the public realm. WSCIC appointed environmental regeneration charity, Groundwork Lancashire West and Wigan, in 2013 to lead the development of a vision for Winckley Square.