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Wrecking ball looms over Preston bus garage

The final nail appears to have been hammered into the coffin of the soon-to-be bulldozed Brutalist bus station in Preston.

BDP has finally submitted a planning application for a 140,000m2 retail-led regeneration scheme in the centre of the town after it emerged that developer Grosvenor had succeeded in wooing department store John Lewis to financially 'anchor' the scheme.

It now appears it's all-systems-go for the £650 million Tithebarn project - which was originally masterplanned by Terry Farrell - a move which will ultimately lead to the demolition of the much-loved 1970s bus garage.

Ironically BDP's proposals will result in the practice overseeing the destruction of one of its own, seminal buildings in the same town in which the firm was founded in 1936.

Unsurprisingly, the news will not be welcomed by fans of Brutalist architecture.

Opposition to the proposed flattening of the garage has come from a number of sources, including an 84-year-old former Desert Rat who vowed to lie in front of the bulldozers to save the building (AJ 18.11.05).

However BDP is adamant that the scheme is the right one for the town. Architect director John Wakes said: 'The John Lewis signing has given a very welcome boost to our plan. I lived and worked in Preston for a number of years and so know that the city redevelopment is eagerly anticipated.'

by Richard Waite

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