Nearly £1 million has been secured for the area around Preston’s Winckley Square.
The Georgian Square is revered as one of the crown jewels of the city and the Heritage Lottery Fund has given £945,000 to restore the streets around the Square.
Preston City Council had applied for funding to help bring vacant properties around the Square back into use and repair key buildings around Winckley Square.
Sara Hilton, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West England, said: “Winckley Square is one of the North West’s finest surviving examples of a privately planned Georgian square. We are delighted to support this project that will restore and conserve historic buildings while at the same time providing them with a new lease of life that will add to the economic vibrancy of the area.”
The money does not cover work for the gardens themselves in Winckley Square.
Simon Turner, a director of the Winckley Square Community Interest Company (WSCIC), a company that is helping lead a separate £1million to HLF to enhance Winckley Square gardens, said: “This is brilliant news. We have been fortunate to see the plans and they are simple, sympathetic yet transformational. It’s another indicator that points to Preston’s health getting stronger.
“I’ve seen first-hand the effort and skill that has gone into the bid and the respective teams should be applauded. Our own bid will be submitted in February 2015 and should we have similar success it will breathe new life into a very important historical and economic area.”
More than 40 grade II listed buildings line the Square and the surrounding roads.
Councillor Peter Rankin, of Preston City Council, said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this grant. Winckley is an important Preston area for businesses, residents and visitors and this regeneration project will improve the area for everyone.”
Councillor Jennifer Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council said: “This is a big step towards the overall regeneration of Preston city centre, and complements the work that we’re already doing on Fishergate to make it a nicer space for shoppers and businesses. We want to encourage new jobs and investment in a way that works sympathetically with the history and heritage of the square.”
Buildings which could see investment are the St Wilfrid’s Catholic Church and the former Catholic college.
The city council already has a new rule where companies wanting to put up signs on buildings on the Square have to apply for a permit.
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