A Victorian orphanage in the heart of the city centre is finally set to be redeveloped.Advertisement
St Joseph’s Orphanage has been the target of numerous illegal break-ins and vandalism over the years.
Now, Czero Developments is the specialist historic building developer teaming up with the Orphanage owner to have a positive impact on the site.
A guard will now permanently remain on site, at Mount Street, 24-hours a day to do preliminary work and prevent people from trespassing.
The former hospital is derelict and Preston Police have previously issued numerous warnings about the dangers there, especially after some children became trapped.
More recently, ladders have been found propped up against walls of the ‘death trap’ where the stained glass windows have been broken, lead stolen off the roof and floorboards have rotted due to water damage.
Read more: Watch as urban explorers discover morgue in St Joseph’s Orphanage
Czero Developments progress is the furthest step towards redevelopment the site has seen.
It is hoped that the Grade II listed building will be transformed into affordable city centre family housing.
Some important parts of the building will have to be kept due to the grade status.
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Founder of Czero Developments, Simon Linford, told Blog Preston: “The building is a death trap and is very dangerous for anybody to enter. We have been here for nine months and we’ve had surveyors with vast experience, who know what they are talking about, refuse to go in.
“Someone will now live on site all the time to stop people coming in and start preliminary work.
“It is actually illegal to trespass onto the premises, as well as extremely dangerous. The police have been involved several times.
“We are looking forward to making a positive impact on the site and finally start to redevelop it.
“We hope to have submitted a planning request to Preston City Council by Christmas.
“We’ve also been working with Historic England who have been really helpful.”
In conjunction with Heritage Open Days in September, it is hoped that a range of tours will be held there, allowing people a safe but educational insight – however it is vital that the site is safe first.
Read more: St Joseph’s Orphanage amongst the most ‘at-risk buildings’ in the UK
Czero Developments have regenerated numerous derelict grade listed buildings before, including Unitarian Chapel in Manchester and The Emporium (Christopher Wray building) in Birmingham.
If planning is accepted for the redevelopment to go ahead, it is hoped that the regeneration will be completed towards late in 2019.
Cabinet member for planning and regulation councillor Peter Moss said: “We have been having pre-planning application discussions with both the owner of St. Joseph’s Orphanage and Czero Developments for some considerable time in order to find a positive solution for the site and its future use. It’s great to see that they are being proactive with protecting and securing the site.
“St. Joseph’s Orphanage has been vacant for a long time and we are looking forward to receiving their planning application later in the year.”
What do you think about the planned redevelopment? How do you feel about it? Let us know in the comments below