Designs revealed for £1m Winckley Square Gardens renovation

A £1m proposal to renovate Preston’s historic Winckley Square Gardens will ‘breathe new life’ into the area according to one of the experts behind the new bid.

Winckley Square - Model ViewFinal designs for the gardens have now been revealed and will be submitted to Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) at the end of February. The plans aim to create a sympathetic improvement of the historic gardens.

The proposal has been developed by a partnership between environmental charity, Groundwork Lancashire West and Wigan, Winckley Square Community Interest Company (WSCIC), a group helping to spearhead the revival of the Square, Preston City Council, Preston Business Improvement District (BID) and Lancashire County Council.

A group of local historians who helped derail a controversial modernisation of the gardens in 2009 have also played a lead role in the new designs.

A Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) panel expects to make a decision in summer 2015, with works potentially starting in 2016 if planning is approved.

The submission comes one year after Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) gave a first-round pass to the partnership’s outline vision, awarding £22,500 to develop detailed plans for the project.

Babs Murphy of the Preston BID and Chief Executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said: “Through the development of a public-private partnership the site is expected to become one of the most beautiful and vibrant destinations in Preston. If successful it will have significant economic and social impact on the city.”

Mick Goode, a director and co-founder of the WSCIC, said: “I think we have an excellent interpretation of what the community wants and needs from Winckley Square. It tackles all the current issues surrounding usability and drainage while telling its wonderful heritage story. “We started this process in 2011 with a blank sheet of paper and no money but lots of energy and skill, so it shows what can happen when the public and private sector work together with the community. If approved, it will transform the Square.”