Preston’s new market building has scooped an award.Advertisement
Frank Whittle Partnership and Preston City Council have won the regional award for planning excellence in the creating economically successful places category.
Judges from the Royal Town Planning Institute said the £4million markets scheme had been a ‘valuable restoration’ and was also enjoying ‘tangible and buoyant economic success’.
Judges considered innovation, sustainability and community involvement when making their decision.
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Leader of the city council councillor Matthew Browns said: “We are delighted to hear the new Preston Markets has been successful in winning a prestigious RTPI award. This award recognises the planning success and delivery achieved by FWP and the council for this project.
“It’s fantastic the hard work and dedication put in to delivering the new markets for the people of Preston has been recognised at such a high level and we endeavour to continue to invest in the markets for the future.”
Managing partner at the Frank Whittle Partnership Martin Whittle said: “Preston’s new market has been a true collaboration between the City Council and local businesses and interest groups and together we have been able to sympathetically restore fine, historic civic structures while giving them a vibrant new lease of life fit for a 21st century city with the addition of a brand new market hall and box market.
“We are proud to be recognised by the Royal Town Planning Institute for creating an economically successful place in the new Markets Quarter especially in our home town where we have played a design and construction role for more than 50 years.”
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Lancashire’s town and cities are famous for their markets. Over the years they have had to adapt to changing trading conditions and opportunities and while much loved by local residents are often fragile economically.
Preston has two adjacent market canopies- the 1924 Fish Market and the much larger 1875 Covered Market. Both are listed and comprise open access areas under ornamental steelwork punctuated by large cast iron columns. By 2016 both structures were in need of substantial repair and re-painting. This was completed in May 2018.What makes this scheme particularly effective, however, is the creation of a contemporary glazed enclosure of some 1200 sq.m. in the central portion of the main building. When the panel visited we found an attractive ‘European style’, vibrant, well used facility which concentrates on a much improved food offer but also contains some of the more traditional market stalls. The adjacent Fish Market now houses the ‘Box Market’ where re-used shipping containers provide starter type units for new local businesses.
The new market was conceived as part of the City Centre Area Action Plan 2016 and as well as attracting new offers has been able to incorporate the majority of pre-existing traders from the tired adjacent “concrete 1960’s” market . The latter is now to be demolished and a cinema is to be constructed there.
The building project was also managed by planners. Local residents and traders were involved throughout and, for example, students from the local university (UCLAN) designed the new stalls which echo the original design but are far more flexible. The canopy structure is large enough to allow outdoor performances at either end and to flexibly accommodate more traditional market trading. The building also provides an all weather route between the main shopping area and the famous bus station.
The scheme is regarded as “a catalyst at the heart of the city’s priority regeneration area” and has already helped encourage other valuable schemes such as the long awaited conversion of the adjacent former post office headquarters into a hotel.
In summary this flagship scheme has achieved the valuable restoration of Preston’s iconic market buildings, and the introduction of new facilities designed to the highest standards which are already enjoying tangible and buoyant economic success.
What do you think about the market? Do you shop there? Are you a trader? Let us know in the comments below