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Winckley Square to be closed for two months of restoration work

Posted on - 8th August, 2016 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - News, Preston City Centre, Winckley Square
Summer in Winckley Square Pic: Tony Worrall

Summer in Winckley Square Pic: Tony Worrall

Winckley Square’s gardens are to be closed off for two months as major restoration work takes place.

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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.

Read more: Boost for Winckley Square as solicitors move in

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.

“Our vision is for Winckley Square to be a rich and dynamic visual, cultural and intellectual outdoor experience for Prestonians and visitors alike. We began with a blank piece of paper and we are a huge step closer to making sure the Gardens aren’t a forgotten and dilapidated asset.”

“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.”

What will be happening during the works?

  • New and improved entrance and access points
  • The restoration of all the railings around the Gardens
  • Resolving the current flooding problems through improved land drainage
  • Introducing lighting into the Gardens to improve security at night times
  • The creation of new heritage reference points, plaques and displays throughout the Gardens
  • New, wider footpaths with new high quality surfaces
  • Replacement of worn and outdated 1980s seating
  • Cleaning and repairing the Robert Peel statue, restoring its original inscriptions, and providing a higher quality setting for the statue

Who else is involved?

L-R Babs Murphy, Preston BID, Mike Crowther of Groundwork, Chris Dyson from LCC, Peter Topping of Barton Grange Landscapes, Ruth Jenkins of Groundwork, David Gill of the WSCIC, Ste Allan of Groundwork and Coun Robert Boswell, Preston Council.

L-R Babs Murphy, Preston BID, Mike Crowther of Groundwork, Chris Dyson from LCC, Peter Topping of Barton Grange Landscapes, Ruth Jenkins of Groundwork, David Gill of the WSCIC, Ste Allan of Groundwork and Coun Robert Boswell, Preston Council.

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.”

Read more: Cutting down trees in Winckley Square complete

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.”

Read more: Boom time returning to Winckley Square?

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

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