A historic part of Preston city centre may no longer be protected by stringent planning laws.Advertisement
St Augustine’s Conservation Area in the streets around what was the old church has been designated since December 1986.
Now councillors are to be asked to remove this special status, which limits development, as Preston City Council say the area has lost a large part of its original layout and character.
In a report, due to be discussed at a full meeting of the council on Thursday, planning officers write: “St. Augustine’s Conservation Area was designated on 2nd December 1986. At that time, English Heritage, now Historic England, was in position to consider providing financial aid for local planning authorities towards schemes for conservation, such as repairs to St
“The designation of St. Augustine’s as a conservation area was therefore, in the main, part of a long-term strategy to try to save the Church. Unfortunately, despite the designation of the conservation area, no grant assistance was awarded and the Church was in such a deteriorated state that it was beyond practicable and economic repair.”
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Historic England have lent their support to the proposal.
Darren Ratcliffe, historic places adviser, has visited the area.
He said: “From my visit I also question the heritage significance of this conservation area, I left with no real sense of place or defined boundary.
“The area has clearly been subject to demolitions, harmful change and loss to architectural detail since its original designation.
“Most disappointing has been the substantial demolition of St Augustine’s church itself (former grade II listed) with only its frontage now retained in an altered form.
“Personally, I commend Preston for being prepared to take such a bold step, it is appropriate for you to focus scarce time and financial resource to other areas of perhaps greater heritage need.”
The Victorian Society has however taken an alternative view and objects to the areas de-designation.
They state in responses to the city council they believe the area retains its special interest.
Preston council meet on Thursday 4 February from 2pm at the Town Hall. The full report regarding the conservation area can be found on the city council website.
What do you think of the report? Do you live in the area? Did you used to live in the area? Let us know in the comments below