Public consultation scheduled for Preston’s Harris Institute Building revamp

CGI of plans for Harris Institute Building

The next stage of the redevelopment of the iconic Grade II-listed Harris Institute Building in Preston takes place next week.

The project team behind the scheme is holding a drop in session on Wednesday, November 8, between 1-4pm, at the Harris Institute to talk to local residents about an initial vision for the redevelopment of the building and seek feedback.

This historic structure, a symbol of Preston’s heritage, will soon undergo a transformative renovation that promises to breathe new life into the heart of the city.

The institute, which is on Historic England’s At Risk Register, has been empty for almost a decade.

It was originally opened in 1849 and was later funded by benefactor Edmund Robert Harris who stipulated that it should be used for educational purposes.

CGI of Harris Institute Building interior

Its original title was the Preston Institution for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. In recent years it became the Harris School of Art and then the Darul Aloom Islamic Institution.

The owner, The Harris Investment Group, has developed a number of potential ideas for the site including a café, exhibition space, co-working and space for conference/talks and events, all subject to a formal planning application and Listed Building Consent. This will support a bid for funding to Historic England and Heritage Lottery Fund in due course.

John Bridge, the architect for the scheme, said: “This is an exciting moment for Preston, as we work together to rejuvenate this historic gem.

“The Harris Institute Building will continue to stand as a symbol of our rich heritage, and we want to work closely with the Preston community to develop a vision for the building that aligns with local aspirations. We know how important this historic asset is to Prestonians.”

Studio John Bridge Architects is leading the project with Gately Smithers Purlow Heritage Specialists, Eden Planning for Planning Consultancy and Cost Analysis from The QS Company.

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