A £7.4m project to transform Preston's Grade II Listed former magistrates court into offices and retail space has received planning approval.
The refurbishment is being led by Preston City Council and is one of six major projects planned under the Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme, for which the city was awarded £20.9m from the government's national Towns Fund initiative in March 2021.
The refurbishment of Amounderness House, originally built in 1857 as a police station with several holding cells, will be transformed into a high-quality modern, flexible, multi-use workspace hub that Wrkspace will operate.
Designed by FWP Architects, the sympathetic refurbishment of the building will create 26 offices of around 645 sq ft and four craft or retail studios. In addition, the existing courtyard will be updated and open for public use.
Maple Grove Developments is working with Preston City Council and Wrkspace as Project/Development Manager to deliver the project.
John Chesworth, chair of Preston's Towns Fund Strategic Board, said: "It's fantastic to see this magnificent building being brought back into use as it will help stimulate business, cultural, and community uses in Preston city centre.
"We are making significant progress in regenerating the Harris Quarter and seeing a ripple effect of interest in what Preston is achieving as an attractive place to live, work and play."
Coun Matthew Brown, leader of Preston City Council, added: "On the back of this excellent news, we can transform Amounderness House and capitalise on this asset being in public ownership and using it to support growing local businesses.
"Furthermore, in line with our Community Wealth Building principles, we're working with Preston-based Wrkspace to run this important heritage asset as it helps boost our economy."
Neil Ainsworth, partner at Preston headquartered FWP, said: “We welcome the approval of the plans for Amounderness House which means this flagship project for the city centre can move ahead.
“We’re looking forward to the regeneration of the building playing its part in the continued development of the Harris Quarter. These are exciting times for the city centre.
“This project will bring this long-disused building back into use as a modern office hub that meets the needs of businesses, while preserving its great character.
“The building’s original elements will be retained and sensitively redeveloped, with restoration work a key part of what is to come.”
Smith & Love Planning Consultants submitted the application on behalf of Preston City Council and the wider project team for Amounderness House, includes Cowburn-Watson Box, SCP Transport, Eden Heritage, E3P, TRP Consulting, and Graham Schofield Associates.
Harris Quarter is a unique area of Preston undergoing a £200m investment programme to transform its historic buildings, sites and public realm into a diverse culture, leisure and employment offering, with Amounderness House located beside the £45m Animate cinema and leisure complex, which is under construction and due to open in Spring 2025.
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