Preston’s Guild Hall could see major changes to the front of the building as the transfer to Simon Rigby continues.Advertisement
Architects have tabled plans to Preston City Councils showing detailed drawings of how the current steps up the front of the building are to be ripped out.
Multi-millionaire businessman Rigby and his consortium are expected to take over the running of the building in October and are moving fast.
The plans lodged with the city council also show how the trees along Lancaster Road would be removed to expose the frontage of the building,
Major relocations of the units inside the Guild Hall are also planned.
The current tourist information office and retail units inside the Guild Hall Arcade on the left as you walk in would be turned into an Italian restaurant.
This restaurant would front directly onto Lancaster Road as well as a giant plasma screen the Rigby group has planned to sit above the first floor of the building.
The current steps up to the first floor of the building would be replaced with covered escalators on the outside.
The document from Frank Whittle Partnership says: “A simple, clean design is proposed to open up the view of the building and respond to the local townscape character.
“The London Plane trees would be removed and new hard paved areas designed to be plain and simple providing a coherent setting for the County Sessions House and Harris Museum and Library buildings.
“With the removal of the dominant Plane trees, the first floor terrace would become a much more inviting, lighter space with excellent elevated views along Lancaster Road.”
The building is to be made more accessible for those with disabilities, as the Rigby group propose to refurbish the existing Mayor’s lift tower which sits at the far left hand end of the building.
Plans also show how the building is due to be lit up at night with different colours and displays.
A statement from the Rigby group said: “The Guild Hall is in desperate need of modernisation along with a clear and concise business plan and marketing strategy.
“We feel that through a combination of these factors and the design proposals explained in this document, the scheme can add a real longevity to the venue making it a real destination venue both in the Preston area and beyond.”
Events under the soon-to-be Rigby run venue have already begun to be booked, with the Town Hall stating all events are being run by Simon Rigby’s team before confirmation.
Preston Comic Convention has already been signed up for October, showing the venue is likely to see more diverse uses under its new owner.
It is thought the Rigby group have paid around £1 million for the venue, which could have been demolished if it stayed in Preston City Council hands with council bosses saying the venue was not financially viable to continue operating.
The full plans can be viewed on the city council website.
Anyone wishing to comment on the plans can do so either via the council website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org quoting reference number 06/2014/0580 by Wednesday 3 September.
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