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Preston votes to knock down bus station

Preston City Council has voted in favour of the demolition of the Lancashire city’s iconic Brutalist bus station after a 12-year battle over the structure.

The council approved the move to tear down the bus shelter in principle – but also asked for a second opinion on the estimated £23 million cost of refurbishing it.

Council leader Peter Rankin said: ‘Our preferred option would be to refurbish Preston Bus Station. We have spent time and effort looking at refurbishment as an option.

‘But at up to £23million it is simply beyond what the council can afford, although we have asked for a second opinion on these costs to be sure before any final decision is made.’

The move means a further extension to a saga that began when demolition of the BDP-designed station was proposed in 2000 to make way for the Terry Farrell-masterplanned Tithebarn regeneration scheme.

The Tithebarn scheme was abandoned last year when anchor tenant John Lewis pulled out; seemingly saving the shelter.

But a report from Preston Council this month said the shelter should be knocked down because it was too expensive to repair or refurbish.

The building costs taxpayers £297,000 a year just to keep open

Rankin said after the vote yesterday: ‘We are in the age of austerity and are facing huge cuts to our budgets and services. In this climate, we cannot even afford to fund all the repairs that are needed at the bus station.

‘The building is also expensive to run – costing taxpayers £297,000 a year just to keep open.’

Preston Bus Station was built in the late 1960s and has room for 80 double decker buses making it one of the largest of its kind in Europe.

A five-storey car park sits on top of the shelter, its curved balconies giving the building its distinctive appearance.

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