FWP unveils £10m plan to revitalise Guild Hall

Architecture practice the Frank Whittle Partnership has unveiled an ambitious £10m masterplan to revitalise Preston’s landmark Guild Hall.

FWP Guild Hall frontFWP, Preston’s biggest architecture practice, has drawn up plans for a vibrant scheme that would see the 1970s-built venue transformed into a top entertainment, educational and conference centre.

The vision for the Guild Hall, which sits in the historic centre of Preston, includes a four-star 120-bed hotel and a food hall. The ageing building would also receive a major facelift.

Plans have been submitted to Preston City Council and the local authority will meet next month to consider options for the Guild Hall complex, which has been included on a list of buildings that could be closed or demolished following government cuts.

FWP, which masterminded the regeneration of Preston North End’s historic Deepdale stadium, is in prime position to play a central role in the regeneration of the city.

David Robinson said: “We have worked with the consortium interested in creating a bright future for Preston’s Guild Hall to produce a plan that will give the city a true top-class modern and vibrant attraction.

“Our vision for the Guild Hall is to transform it into an entertainment, educational and conference centre with world class credentials.

“Our ambitious plans include a new education facility for the university for the teaching of performing arts. We also see the Guild Hall staging great entertainment.

“Linked to all this is a stylish, modern, 120-room hotel, bringing more people into the heart of the city.

“We’re also proposing giving the building, which is looking tired, a major facelift as part of the project. You only have to look at the location of the building to see the potential that exists. That is what we are looking to harness for the good of the community.

“Our plan shows that iconic buildings from the Sixties and Seventies like the Guild Hall and Preston’s bus station can and should have a bright future.

"It is about having the will and the vision to see that these structures still have a real worth to the community and can be adapted and modernised to provide something special for future generations.”

He added: “The vision for the bus station could see the BDP-designed 1969 building transformed into a new retail and leisure centre.”

FWP says its plans for the Guild Hall will also help with the regeneration of Preston’s city centre – attracting more people to use the bus station and its car park and linking with the nearby Harris Museum and Art Gallery. It also believes the revamp will mean the venue will once again attract international sporting events. For many years the Guild Hall was home to the UK Snooker Championship.