Re-design announced for Preston Youth Zone and bus station improvements

A revised design has been announced for the new Preston Youth Zone and improvements to Preston Bus Station.

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The plans will see a multi-million pound investment in the Grade II-listed bus station site, to create a vibrant public space and a home for the new Preston Youth Zone Plus to house a wide range of activities for young people - while preserving the building’s unique brutalist architecture.

Other changes include the creation of new public space outside the bus station on the city centre side, as well as changes to the road layout, the bus station concourse and the car park levels. Revisions to the plans are part of the preparatory work needed to eventually gain planning approval.

The total budget for the improvement work and construction of the youth zone is around £23.3m.

Preston Bus Station is owned by Lancashire County Council, with the new proposals having been created by the design team, led by John Puttick Associates. His original proposal was chosen as the winner of the design competition last year.

John Puttick, the British-born architect, said: “One of our key objectives has been to design a building maximising available public space in and around the bus station to create a major new square for Preston. This supports the civic quality of the project.

“It has also been important to respond to the proudly utilitarian quality of Preston Bus Station by designing a new neighbour that shares and celebrates this robustness, just as a youth centre used for sport and as a place for creativity should do.”

Jennifer Mein, leader of the county council, said: "Taking time to get the design right now will help this process in the future. It's important that we develop plans to gain the necessary planning approval and ensure that we deliver this youth zone for our young people and improve the bus station for everyone to use.

"Our plans for the bus station are a major investment in the city centre, which will also enhance the regeneration of the Markets Quarter. We're working to revitalise this section of the city by improving this major transport hub and providing high quality facilities for public transport users and motorists.

"Through the Preston South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal, we’re delivering improvements to roads and public transport that will make it easier for people to get around and bring new people into the city, which benefits the local economy. All in all, this is an exciting time for the city."

Guy Topping, chairman of Preston Youth Zone, said: “We feel this new and improved design is hugely exciting for the city. The changes have been major steps forward in providing the young people of Preston and surrounding areas with a safe and inspiring place to spend their leisure time, whilst at the same time preserving the architectural integrity of the listed bus station.

"It was important for us to work closely with all stakeholders so that the final design has the best chance of securing planning consent and delivers the quality and range of facilities that Preston Youth Zone is determined to provide.” The earliest that work could start on site is mid-September, subject to planning approval, with completion in early 2019.