Terry Farrell & Partners is set to present initial ideas for the redevelopment of a controversial site that includes the highly acclaimed but unlisted Preston Bus Station.
The practice won an invited competition for the redevelopment, beating off rivals HOK, Benoy and RTKL.
The firm confirmed that it had completed masterplanning concept work for the scheme, which will include retail, leisure and residential buildings, and the refurbishment of the town's Guildhall. It will cost well in excess of £50 million, but detailed sizes and costs are not being released until the plan has been formally presented to the local council and client Grosvenor Estates next week.
Julian Tollast, a director of Terry Farrell & Partners, said the project would link into the existing street pattern and was a good opportunity for a high-quality retail scheme in an area characterised by 1960s buildings and the Grade I-listed Harris Museum and covered market.
But the site is dogged by controversy over the 1969 concrete bus station and car park. Designed by BDP's Keith Ingham and Charles Wilson, it is likely to be demolished to make way for the new scheme. The campaign to save the building received a blow last year when the government turned down calls for a Grade II listing.
'The decision not to list the station frees up our options and the debate went on before we were appointed, ' said Tollast. 'It means Preston and Grosvenor can go forward with some degree of certainty.'
But Emmanuelle Morgan, a caseworker for the Twentieth Century Society, said the original station was a bold and dynamic answer to Preston's need for an integrated passenger exchange.
'The Preston mega-bus station, which is the source of much local pride, has been sacrificed, ' she said.