Heritage bodies are working on a plan to save Preston Bus Station from demolition by finding dramatically cheaper refurbishment options.
More from: Battle continues to save Preston Bus Station
The city council yesterday (17 December) approved demolition of the bus shelter in principle – but asked for a second opinion on the estimated £23 million cost of refurbishing it.
Clare Price from conservation organisation the Twentieth Century Society told the AJ a refurbishment job could be done much cheaper than that.
‘If they have the money to demolish a building of that size, then it could be spent on low-grade essential repair work while a vision is worked up for the long-term,’ she said.
‘We are working with other heritage bodies on this.’
Price said the ‘shortsighted’ council vote was ‘the wrong decision at the wrong time’.
This is the latest twist in a 12-year saga that began when demolition of the BDP-designed shelter was proposed in 2000 to make way for the £700 million Tithebarn regeneration scheme - a project BDP also worked on.
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 station 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.
Council leader Peter 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.’
But Price said there was a long way to go before the bulldozers moved in.
We will use all means at our disposal to prevent the loss of this important building
‘They will have to go through a lot of hoops. There will be an environmental impact assessment and a long process. We will use all means at our disposal to prevent the loss of this important building.’
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