Harris Institute plans go to public consultation

By Tim Aldred

01 Nov 2023

Harris Institute

The redevelopment plans of the Grade II listed Harris Institute Building in Preston have been unveiled.

The iconic building is on Historic England’s At Risk Register and has been empty for almost a decade.

Now the current owner, The Harris Investment Group, has developed a number of potential ideas for the site including a café, exhibition space, co working and space for conference / talks and events, all subject to a formal Planning Application and Listed Building Consent.

This will support a bid for funding to Historic England and Heritage Lottery Fund in due course.

The project team is holding a drop in session on Wednesday 8th November between 1-4pm at the Harris Institute to talk to local residents about an initial vision for the redevelopment of the building and seek feedback.

Studio John Bridge Architects are leading the project with Gately Smithers Purlow Heritage Specialists, Eden Planning for Planning Consultancy and Cost Analysis from The QS Company.

John Bridge said: “This is an exciting moment for Preston, as we work together to rejuvenate this historic gem. The Harris Institute Building will continue to stand as a symbol of our rich heritage, and we want to work closely with the Preston community to develop a vision for the building that aligns with local aspirations. We know how important this historic asset is to Prestonians.”

The building was originally opened in 1849 and was later funded by benefactor Edmund Robert Harris who stipulated that it should be used for educational purposes. Its original title was the Preston Institution for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. In recent years it became the Harris School of Art and then the Darul Aloom Islamic Institution.

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