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Preston secures £20.9m for Harris Quarter investment programme

Harris building front view of building

Harris building front view of building

3 March 2021

Preston secures £20.9m for Harris Quarter investment programme

Preston has been awarded £20.9m from the government's Towns Fund for a series of ambitious regeneration projects within the city's emerging Harris Quarter.

The funding, announced today as part of the chancellor's budget, will support redevelopment projects highlighted within the new Preston City Investment Plan (CIP) which sets out a bold 15-year vision and strategy to transform the city centre.

The sum includes the £1m Preston had already secured from the Towns Fund for a its Harris Quarter Pop-Ups project which is aimed at attracting more residents and visitors into the city centre.

The Harris Quarter includes the buildings, public spaces and streets surrounding The Harris Museum, Preston Markets, The Guild Hall and the bus station.

The projects in the CIP will breathe new life into its heritage assets, key buildings and open spaces to create a diverse culture, leisure and employment offering, strengthening the city centre as Preston recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

Projects that will benefit

Projects that will benefit from the funding include:

  • #HarrisYourPlace: The refurbishment of the Grade I listed Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library, enhancing and protecting the building for generations to come.
  • Animate - Cinema and Leisure Scheme: The delivery of a new cinema and bowling attraction with food and drink venues, a car park and public square next to Preston Markets.
  • Renewal of Harris Quarter Assets: Investment to support the redevelopment of publicly-owned buildings in the Harris Quarter to support new cultural and community uses.
  • Illuminate and Integrate: A project to deliver improved pedestrian and cycleway infrastructure, street lighting and other public realm improvements within the Harris Quarter
  • Animation of Public Spaces: A project to fund the co-ordination of events in new and existing public spaces in the Harris Quarter.
  • Preston Youth Zone: The development of Preston Youth Zone as a state-of-the-art facility for young people in Preston aged eight to 19.

The Pop-Ups project will bring together a new temporary event space, artworks, and improvements to public realm infrastructure, aimed at boosting visitor activity in the Harris Quarter as the city recovers from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Further details of these projects are to be released in the coming weeks.

The city's bid for support from the Towns Fund was led by the Preston Partnership whose members include local businesses, organisations and individuals passionate about the growth and development of Preston.

The next stage will see the Preston Partnership and Preston City Council developing detailed business cases for the individual projects, as well as liaising with potential occupiers, applying for relevant planning permissions, and starting the process of appointing contractors.

John Chesworth, chair of Preston Partnership and the Preston Towns Fund board, commented:

"This money from the Towns Fund is fantastic news for our city. The City Investment Plan that underpins this funding sets out a 15-year vision for improving the city centre to attract more residents, workers, students, visitors, and investors, making it a more inclusive location for everyone.

"The projects within the plan will not just regenerate buildings and public spaces, they will strengthen our leisure and cultural offering, creating jobs and economic growth. They will enable the city centre to have a thriving day and night-time economy which will be vital in the years ahead.

"While we started creating the City Investment Plan and our funding bid before the pandemic, these projects will now be even more vital to our recovery from this crisis which has deeply impacted our residents and businesses. It will continue the positive flow of change through Preston, making a significant, long-term contribution to our city's recovery and prosperity."

Councillor Matthew Brown, Leader of Preston City Council, added:

"What's really important to us about the regeneration of Preston is that it is guided by the people and businesses living and working here, so we're really proud of the way the City Investment Plan and the Preston Towns Fund bid has been developed and led by the Preston Partnership.

"It provides a long-term vision for making the Harris Quarter a vibrant and exciting part of the city with a world class business, leisure and cultural proposition that can enrich the lives of Preston residents and build community wealth and shared prosperity."

The CIP also considers how the Harris Quarter regeneration links up with Preston's other major regeneration projects, such as the masterplans for Stoneygate, the Station Quarter and UCLan.

The Towns Fund is a £3.6 billion fund established by the government to level up towns and cities around the country. In September 2019, 100 towns and cities in England were invited to put forward proposals for funding from the Towns Fund.

Further information

Preston Partnership

Preston Partnership was established in 2018.

The partnership has more than 100 members who are passionate about improving Preston and want to be part of strong, influential network that makes a difference in the continued growth and development of the city. Working with Preston City Council, The Preston Partnership board has been instrumental in preparing Preston's City Investment Plan and Towns Fund bid.

Towns Fund

The Towns Fund is a £3.6 billion fund established by the government to level up towns and cities around the country.

The government has invited towns and cities like Preston to develop proposals for a Town Deal in collaboration with their community. Through the Towns Fund Board Preston has talked with the public, businesses and other organisations to identify:

  • Which projects will be delivered
  • What funding is required
  • How these projects will fit into the long-term City Investment Plan

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