RIBA president Angela Brady has demanded the government intervene to protect Preston’s iconic bus station
In a televised debate with architecture minister Ed Vaizey, the institute leader said the 1969 building was ‘iconic of its time’ and ‘deserves to be treated with respect’.
She told the minister: ‘You could spot list it today. Preston is iconic, it is a 1960s building of its time and I don’t think you can demolish it like tearing a page out of the history of architecture.’
She added: ‘Listing is nothing to do with money, it’s about the quality of the architecture and historic value.’
Vaizey refused to say whether he would list the building, explaining any request must be decided in a ‘quasi-judicial’ capacity which forbids him declaring a personal opinion on the matter.
In reply, BBC2 Daily Politics co-host Jo Coburn said: ‘You must have a view you are a fan of post war architecture.’
Maintaining his position, Vaizey replied: ‘If I receive an application I will consider it with an open mind.’ But after further probing admitted: ‘I like modern architecture.’
Preston bus station’s future has been in doubt since 2000 when the £700 million Tithebarn regeneration scheme – a project BDP also worked on – required it to be flattened.
The highly controversial project collapsed two years ago but in December Preston Council sanctioned the building’s in principle demolition on the grounds it cost £297,000-a-year to maintain and was too expensive to repair.
The council at the time also asked for a second opinion on an estimated £23 million refurbishment cost and invited offers for its purchase.
Last month, energy magnate Simon Rigby teamed up with Preston and Manchester-based Frank Whittle Partnership to promote a retail-led rescue plan for the concrete behemoth.
The proposal would see the landmark BDP-designed 1969 structure transformed to include new retail and leisure uses alongside a smaller bus station. The multi-storey car park would also remain.