Lover of Preston heritage Aidan Turner-Bishop has called on Preston City Council to maintain the old Post Office better.
The building is being marketed by the city council as a possible hotel or leisure venue but the chairman of the former Preston and South Ribble Civic Trust says the building is currently “negative and blighting”.
Mr Turner-Bishop says the restoration of listed buildings in a sensitive manner is possible but routine maintenance of the Old Post Office is needed.
He said: “One of the problems with Preston’s urban decline is that we –and that includes the Council – don’t or can’t see what good buildings we have and we fail to appreciate their quality. So it is with the old Post Office facing the Cenotaph in Market Square.
“Preston should be proud that we have a good example of Sir Henry Tanner’s architecture at the centre of our city. It’s not a problem to be grudgingly dealt with; it’s an opportunity to celebrate a rich Edwardian heritage with style and grace.
“In the meantime, let’s have some routine maintenance please. Fix the leaking gutters. Clean the façade and get rid of the shabby Chambers name which replaced the stone-carved Post Office sign. The Council’s neglect of such a prime site building – the screen to the restored Cenotaph – is negative and blighting.”
The building has recently been used to host the Best of Britannia North exhibition and Mr Turner-Bishop says other listed buildings have found new uses.
He said: “In Leeds Tanner’s former 1892-6 office in City Square has been converted into a stylish seafood restaurant. York sensibly continues to use his office as a Crown Post Office. We need, in Preston, a re-use of the post office which celebrates the quality and excellence of Sir Henry’s architecture. It can be done: consider Wetherspoon’s sympathetic reconstruction of the old Savings Bank, Church Street, into the Twelve Tellers pub.”
The city council is confident it can find someone to restore the old Post Office.
Council leader councillor Peter Rankin said: “We’ve already had a lot of interest in the former Post Office building and the timing is right now to look to develop this unique, Preston building for possible hotel and leisure development.”
What do you think should happen to the former Post Office? Do you agree with Mr Turner-Bishop? Let us know in the comments below.