Winckley Square’s gardens are to be closed off for two months as major restoration work takes place.Advertisement
Nearly £1m of lottery money is being spent on a ‘transformation’ of the grade-II listed Georgian Square.
Preston-based Barton Grange Landscapes are preparing to put spades in the ground and hope to complete the work by October if the weather stays good.
No access to the gardens will be allowed during the works and some parking bays close to the southern entrane of the gardens is also to be shut off.
All roads and pathways around the Square remain open during the works.
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Chairman of the Winckley Square Community Interest Company David Gill said: “The start of this work is another major milestone in a project which has been five years in the making. It is a wonderful example of the community working together to create something which Preston can rightly be very proud of.
“Many people have given up their time for free to ensure this project comes to fruition. A huge element on this work which has been going on in the background for a number of years are the legal issues surrounding the land. This has been a major hurdle to overcome. Our legal team has put a great deal of time and effort to bring this complex legal process to the point where we can now get on site.”
Additional funding, of £150,000 comes from Preston Business Improvement Distrit and a number of other organisations.
Mike Crowther, Groundwork’s Programme Director Sustainable Communities, said: “This vital work to transform the gardens will not only serve to restore and protect the heritage of the past but will also mark the beginning of an exciting new future for Winckley Square.”
Andrew Mather of the Preston Historical Society added: “The new plans for Winckley Square’s sensitive restoration, which have been developed over the past three years, will ensure it continues to be a much loved part of Preston’s heritage – a green oasis in the heart of the busy modern city – for years to come.”
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Babs Murphy chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said: “This vital grant that will enable the Winckley Square CIC to do so much good would never have been possible without the hard work and tens of thousands of pounds of investment from the Preston City Centre Business Improvement District (BID).
“Indeed it was a condition in order to receive the funding that the BID put £30,000 per year into the Square, and the team has done a great deal of work to increase the utilisation of the gardens, through initiatives such as the Winckley Square Hangout.
“We all have worked extremely hard in securing funding and our hard work has paid off. It won’t be long now before Winckley Square is returned to its former glory.”
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Deputy leader of Preston City Council councillor John Swindells said: “This is a careful restoration of truly one of the finest historic squares in the UK and it will make Winckley Square an even more attractive place to live and work.”
Leader of Lancashire County Council councillor Jennifer Mein said: “Winckley Square is an important base for several of the city’s professional services, and is an excellent business location.
“This project is one of many significant schemes that are currently being developed around the city centre. These include the bus station improvements and the plans for the Markets Quarter, as well as the railway station improvements and the redevelopment of the former Park Hotel.
“Our multi-million pound Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal is helping people to get around, creating new jobs and new homes. Overall this is an exciting time, with major investments and improvements coming into the city.”
Do you live or work in the Square? What do you think of the works? Let us know in the comments below