The art deco Lancastria House is to remain standing despite the city’s new cinema being built.Advertisement
Preston City Council has confirmed the building, which currently stands empty, is now no longer part of the plans for the Markets cinema and restaurants scheme.
As reported by Blog Preston in early February the scheme has been put back to 2021 and a new planning application is expected later this year.
Due to cost £50million the 11-screen cinema, restaurants complex and new park, has been scaled back.
A Freedom of Information request made by BBC North West Tonight’s Steve Saul, which has been seen by Blog Preston, confirms Lancastria House is no longer included.
The response from Preston City Council said: “Any updated design of the scheme will reflect operator requirements. Lancastria House
is not included in the scheme so the footprint of the scheme is smaller.”
Announced in 2016, the cinema plan for the markets included knocking down Lancastria House although the city council said it would ‘keep the facade if funds allowed’.
Heritage campaigners and art deco fans, such as Jeremy Rowlands who owns Plau bar and The Ferret amongst others and the Twentieth Century Society, had called for the building to be kept in its entirety.
Read more: Why art-deco beauty Lancastria House needs to be saved from Preston Markets plan
Lancastria House was used as council offices and had the Great Times Chinese restaurant in its ground floor and basement.
Leader of the city council councillor Matthew Brown told Blog Preston: “We remain committed to ensuring there is a city centre cinema and restaurants scheme, and we are progressing that.
“Demolition work has begun on the Indoor Market and like any large project these things will take time.
“There have been changes to the scheme and we discussed those at council and have support in taking this scheme forward which is needed in Preston.
“It is difficult to say more at this stage as legal contracts and many other parts of the deal continue to be worked on.”
The city council has since revealed it has seen interest from developers in buying Lancastria House.
Cabinet member for planning and regulation councillor Peter Moss said: “The demolition of the former indoor market and car park will leave Lancastria House intact as a freestanding building once again.
“This presents an exciting opportunity and as demolition progresses the Council will be considering options for the building.
“The Council has already received a number of informal approaches from interested parties which we will consider as we put a redevelopment strategy in place.”
Read more: Markets scheme is ‘making good progress’ say city council
What do you think about the decision to keep Lancastria House? What should it become? Let us know in the comments below