Preston gives go-ahead for two multimillion-pound developments

Illustration of scheme's public square

The £50m regeneration of a derelict Preston brickworks took a key step forward today (March 31).

Preston City Council’s planning committee unanimously granted permission for the final phase of the scheme by Liverpool-based BXB Cottam Properties which includes 89 homes and a district retail centre which would include a new Aldi food store and a range of other commercial units. Approval has also been granted for 229 car parking spaces.

Work is already under way on the 14-acre site in Cottam, North West Preston, to deliver 114 affordable homes for Jigsaw Housing Group.

Planning permission was granted last year to remediate the remainder of the site to make it ready for development and Gary Goodman, of BXB Cottam Properties, says that work can now begin: “This consent now gives us the comfort to invest in the site’s remediation and discussions are now under way to bring that forward,” he said.

“Delivery of the district centre depends upon our ability to acquire a small portion of land from Lancashire County Council and Homes England and discussions remain ongoing in this regard. A deal will unlock hundreds of new jobs, vital retail provision and large amounts of rateable income for the local authority.”

Adam Robson, property director for Aldi, said: “We are now looking forward to our latest investment in Preston as part of this district centre in Cottam.

“This new store will create more than 40 jobs at the UK’s highest paid supermarket which we will be encouraging local people to apply for. We will be able to confirm a timescale for the new store opening once discussions with Lancashire County Council and Homes England are complete.”

More than 12, 500 homes have been built or consented in recent years in the immediate area and the site, off Cottam Avenue and Tom Benson Way, has been identified as a priority in the Central Lancashire core strategy, Preston’s local plan and the Preston City Deal.

The development is forecast to generate 170 full time jobs for the area, with a further 271 jobs during the construction phase. Economists predict that it will generate an economic output of £41.7m a year and increase council tax revenue by £150,000 per annum.

Gary Goodman said: “The old brickworks and landfill have blighted this part of the city for decades and it will be good to put the land back to productive use. My thanks go to Preston council and its officers for the proactive and constructive way they approached our application.”

The architect for the scheme is The Harris Partnership, with Peter Tooher of Nexus Planning acting as lead planning consultant.

Another scheme that was cleared today was Preston’s city-owned £40m cinema and leisure complex, Animate, subject to receiving no objection from Lancashire County Council highways.

Situated on the city’s former indoor market, Animate will host an eight-screen cinema, bowling alley, food hall, new restaurants and bars and a new public square.

The scheme, designed by Leach Rhodes Walker, will stimulate economic growth and development in Preston and is expected to generate more than £7m of extra economic activity annually while creating 140 full-time equivalent jobs.

Animate complex

Hollywood Bowl was recently named as one of the anchor operators for the project.

The council is developing Animate in partnership with Maple Grove Developments, part of the Preston-based Eric Wright Group.

Andrew Dewhurst, development director at Maple Grove Developments, said: “We have been extremely encouraged by the strong interest received from national retail and leisure occupiers, who do not currently have a presence in Lancashire and we look forward to making more announcements in the coming weeks.”

Chris Hayward, director of development and housing at Preston City Council, said: “This is fantastic news for Preston, and is a key milestone towards starting construction work later this year with the view to opening Animate in 2024. It’s a key project in Preston’s 15-year City Investment Plan and will contribute greatly to its ambitious vision to transform the city.”

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