An international architectural competition to develop designs for Preston’s iconic bus station has been launched today by Lancashire County Council, in partnership with Preston Youth Zone.
The plans will see an investment of around £13m in Preston’s iconic bus station, which will transform the public space and become home to the new Preston Youth Zone – while preserving the building’s unique and Grade II Listed brutalist architecture.
The architectural competition will be run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) on behalf of the county council and Youth Zone, and once completed will help the bus station site become a catalyst for regeneration and make it more appealing to passengers.
Central to the scheme, Preston Youth Zone will occupy around half of the space on the Holiday Inn side of the building, with a separate sports hall on the apron outside. The Youth Zone will feature an indoor sports hall, outdoor pitches, a climbing wall, fitness suite and areas for music, dance, arts and crafts.
County Councillor Jennifer Mein, leader of the county council, said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside RIBA, who will bring their extensive knowledge and experience of delivering successful competitions of this type.
“They will help us to ensure we are able to develop and deliver exciting plans for the bus station itself and the surrounding space.
“We want to see high-quality ideas coming forward for the bus station, whether they’re from here in Lancashire or from elsewhere.
“It’s important that we protect the integrity of this listed building, while creating an exciting new facility for generations of our young people.”
The vision for the bus station represents a major evolution of the plans for Preston Youth Zone, following previous plans to locate it near County Hall, and on the site of a former nursery near Marsh Lane and Ringway.
As an independent charity Preston Youth Zone will be delivered as a result of a powerful combination of public, private and voluntary sector support led by OnSide Youth Zones, a charity dedicated to providing modern youth facilities based on the model of the highly successful and innovative Bolton Lads and Girls Club. Preston Youth Zone will contribute £1m towards the construction costs with Lancashire County Council investing £5m.
Kathryn Morley, Chief Executive at OnSide Youth Zones said: “This is an incredibly exciting time in the development of Preston Youth Zone. Youth Zones are a response to what young people want in the 21st century; safe, supportive and inspiring spaces where they can spend their leisure time. The building is our starting point to achieve this and so the design is a significant part of the project.”
The county council purchased the heritage listed building in Dec 2013.
Hugh Broughton, RIBA Adviser, said: “This competition provides an inspiring opportunity to bring creativity and vision to a truly significant listed building in ways which will be engaging and entirely relevant to the people of Preston.”
During the first stage, anonymous design ideas are submitted based on the project brief, which has been developed by Lancashire County Council, with advice and guidance from RIBA and other organisations.
The contest will be judged by a panel that is still to be confirmed, but is likely to include the leaders of both the county council and Preston City Council, the private sector, a young person, an expert architect and local interest groups.
The judging panel will meet to choose a shortlist of five projects, and those five consultants will be invited to work up their designs in more detail. At that stage there’ll also be consultation with the public and local businesses before a final decision on the winner is made.