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Key players have their say on Preston’s prospects in 2019

Posted on - 28th December, 2018 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Politics, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Redevelopment
A rainbow over Preston city centre Pic: Tony Worrall
A rainbow over Preston city centre Pic: Tony Worrall

As Preston prepares to go into 2019 we’ve been asking those in charge of the city, seeking to be in charge of it or who run large businesses what they think the year holds.

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Reflecting on both how 2018 went and what the year ahead holds we’ve had thoughts from the University of Central Lancashire, Preston City Council, Winckley Square Community Interest Company and one of the city’s leading property developers.

Lynne Livesey, UCLan
Lynne Livesey, UCLan

What’s your name and position?

Lynne Livesey, University of Central Lancashire Joint Institutional Lead.

What’s your feelings as we head into 2019 in Preston?

Despite the current uncertainly surrounding Brexit, I’m optimistic that, as a city and university, we will continue to thrive by pulling together. It’s my view that expanding the opportunities for students to study alongside those from around Europe remains crucial in building a world-class student experience and within our city helps to create a vibrant, cosmopolitan environment.

How do you feel 2018 went for the city?

Overall, I think it was a good year as exemplified by Preston’s recognition as the most improved city in the UK. Along with the many people who live and work in Preston, we take great pride in the city and it’s no surprise to see this rapid rise in improved housing, employment figures and general quality of life.

What was the most memorable moment/project/thing from 2018 for you and your organisation?

Perhaps our most publicly acknowledged achievement came at the end of November, when UCLan received three Times Higher Education awards – widely regarded as the Oscars of the higher education sector – for best International Collaboration of the Year for our work with the American University of the Caribbean (AUC) that enabled a cohort of 643 students and staff, to move lock, stock and barrel from one continent to another in a little over a week; Excellence and Innovation in the Arts in recognition of the UCLan Publishing House that provides unparalleled opportunities and experience for our students on the world stage, and Most Innovative Contribution to Business-University Collaboration for our collaboration with local company Recycling Lives which is a fantastic example of commercial opportunity coupled with positive environmental impact. We were the only University to win three awards, so this was an excellent achievement.

Read more: UCLan recognised for work helping Hurricane Irma victims

What do you expect to happen in 2019 in Preston?

Next year the pace of development is going to be even more exciting for both the University and the city. Our £35 million Engineering Innovation Centre is on schedule for completion in early 2019 and we see this as crucial in helping the region’s businesses to link up with us and take advantage of the so called ‘fourth industrial revolution’ in areas such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence and 3D printing.

The new engineering building sits on the Adelphi roundabout
The new engineering building sits on the Adelphi roundabout

The facility will also help cement our national lead in the field of degree apprenticeships which are seen by the Government as crucial in boosting productivity and economic growth locally, regionally and nationally.

Councillor Matthew Brown
Councillor Matthew Brown

What’s your name and position?

Matthew Brown, leader of Preston City Council, Labour.

What’s your feelings as we head into 2019 in Preston?

Excitement and optimism as we are a city on the rise in which we are working to ensure everyone benefits.

How do you feel 2018 went for the city?

We were voted the most improved city to live and work in the U.K. with high levels of employment and rising wages so we are fighting back against austerity.

What was the most memorable moment/project/thing from 2018 for you and your organisation?

So many to choose from but I would say the opening of our new markets in February.

Read more: See all the latest news on the city’s markets

What do you expect to happen in 2019 in Preston?

Hopefully the city centre will develop and we will build a fairer local economy.

Simon Turner, Winckley Square Community Interest Company
Simon Turner, Winckley Square Community Interest Company

What’s your name and position?

Simon Turner, managing director of Freshfield and director of the Winckley Square Community Interest Company

What’s your feelings as we head into 2019 in Preston?

There is a vibe and confidence around the place. This will lead to more investment.

How do you feel 2018 went for the city?

A great year of progress in very challenging economic conditions.

What was the most memorable moment/project/thing from 2018 for you and your organisation?

Seeing a number of ‘city class’ establishments open in Preston; Bistro Pierre, Otter’s Pocket, Plau, Winckley Square Hotel.

What do you expect to happen in 2019 in Preston?

More regeneration and job creation. Some major residential schemes being completed, world-class projects at UCLan, more high quality bars and restaurants coming to the city and further new projects being unveiled. All will help Preston develop its reputation as a city on the up.

Max Williams
Max Williams

What’s your name and position?

Max Walker-Williams, property developer, owner of No10 Preston, The Winckley Square Hotel and other properties across the city

What’s your feelings as we head into 2019 in Preston?

Excellent, there has been real growth which people can actually see and feel from large projects like The Guild Hall and No.10 Preston to smaller new businesses like The Otters Pocket and Fino’s. Preston is becoming trendy and cool!

What was the most memorable moment/project/thing from 2018 for you and your organisation?

Winckley Square Hotel. I know we’re biased but the Hotel is truly amazing. Not just in Preston’s setting but it holds its own against any hotel in the country.

Winckley Square Hotel
Winckley Square Hotel

What do you expect to happen in 2019 in Preston?

I believe Preston will continue to grow, new projects and businesses opening only encourages more new projects and businesses to open. There is still a lot of work to do in Preston but it’s a city with plenty of room and enthusiasm to grow.

For the first time ever we will be developing apartments to sell on Winckley Square, these will be The most luxurious apartments Preston has ever seen, finished to the same standard as our Apartmenthotels, No.10 Preston and Winckley Square Hotel. Work begins on ‘The One Winckley Square’ in January 2019.

If Preston city and Lancashire county councils continue to support business and infrastructure the way they have in previous years Preston is set to become an outstanding city indeed.

Councillor Neil Cartwright
Councillor Neil Cartwright

What’s your name and position?

Councillor Neil Cartwright, leader of the Conservative group on Preston City Council

What’s your feelings as we head into 2019 in Preston?

Increasing optimism for Preston despite ‘Brexit’ and threats to the world economy.

How do you feel 2018 went for the city?

Quite well with the benefits of City Deal becoming apparent and increasing other public and private sector investment. E.g new hotels, city centre apartment projects, plans starting for HS2, new restaurants.

What was the most memorable moment/project/thing from 2018 for you and your organisation?

No specific memorable thing but there is a feeling of confidence around the City.

What do you expect to happen in 2019 in Preston?

More of the same with projects coming to fruition and fresh ones in the pipeline. PNE to make at least the play offs.

Liz Bromley, University of Central Lancashire
Liz Bromley, University of Central Lancashire

What’s your name and position?

Liz Bromley, University of Central Lancashire Joint Institutional Lead.

What’s your feelings as we head into 2019 in Preston?

We are very proud of our Preston roots and it’s more important than ever that, as a community, we continue to send the message that universities are important civic institutions that bring knowledge, innovation and graduate talent into the regional economies in which they are situated. Next year we will continue to work in partnership with home-grown businesses and organisations, sourcing products and services locally, boosting jobs and economic growth within the city.

How do you feel 2018 went for the city?

I think there is a feeling that Preston is on an upward curve. The growth in independent retailers and restaurants in the city is great to see. The University contributes more than £200 million to Preston and the North West economy every year and it’s not lost on us that some of these businesses have either been set up by our graduates or are thriving because of the custom they provide. For instance, retailer Hollywood Experts has proved to be very popular among our student population and the city’s new Korean restaurant KimJi Korean has also proved to be a big hit.

What was the most memorable moment/project/thing from 2018 for you and your organisation?

There really is so much to choose from, it’s very difficult to concentrate on one thing. For instance, our 190th anniversary was celebrated through a series of events both on and off campus while this year’s ever-popular Lancashire Science Festival saw us welcome more than 13,000 visitors to our Preston campus. We also completed the first phase of our Campus Masterplan when Dr Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State for International Trade, officially opened our £8.15 million social spaces development. I think what’s especially memorable though, is the sight of more than 6,000 UCLan students graduate both in the summer and the recent winter ceremonies. Many of them will work for companies and organisations in the Preston area, providing energy, ideas and filling local skills’ shortages.

What do you expect to happen in 2019 in Preston?

This is what the new public square will look like on what was the Adelphi roundabout
This is what the new public square will look like on what was the Adelphi roundabout

The New Year will see work begin in earnest on our new circa £60 million Student Centre and Civic Square. A lot of detailed preparatory work has already been completed and more will take place in the early part of the New Year. Once completed the whole area will one of the largest civic spaces developed in England in the last 100 years.

What do you think about Preston in 2019? Are you feeling optimistic or pessimistic? Let us know your views in the comments below

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