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£1m funding for Harris Quarter pop-up events, visitor attractions and street food markets

Posted on - 8th October, 2020 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Food & Drink, Politics, Preston Bus Station, Preston City Centre, Preston News, What's On in Preston
The Market Hall in Preston under the Victorian Covered Market canopy Pic: Paul Melling
The Market canopies could be used for covered open air dining Pic: Paul Melling

A curated programme of pop-up events, installations, visitor attractions and street food markets is coming to Preston.

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The project, known as Harris Quarter Pop Ups, will be funded by an extra £1 million grant from government as part of the Towns Fund.

The main objective of the project is to encourage city centre visits from residents and visitors alike, to help re-establish the area as a safe destination of choice in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A long list of ideas has been drawn up with consideration being give to ensure a Covid-safe environment, including:

  • Adapting spaces under the Market canopies to provide covered open air dining and socialising
  • Promoting Lancashire food, drink and craft producers, in conjunction with the existing Market stalls
  • Holding pop-up cinema screenings and events
  • Creating stage and events space for use by the local creative community and education institutions
  • Using part of the Bus Station concourse for gallery space
  • Installing digital projectors to bring light, colour and artistic interventions
  • Encouraging cycling through cycle shelters and a pop-up cycle hub
  • Repurposing the famous phone boxes in Market Street

Read more: Climate campaigners launch call for where Preston should have new cycle lanes

Councillor Peter Moss, Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for planning and regulation at Preston City Council, said: “We are now working on an implementation programme, following which a more detailed programme of activity will be published.

“The project has the combined benefits of being used for these activities in the short term whilst leaving a longer term legacy for the city by reinventing how underused parts of the centre can be used.

Phone boxes in Market Street Pic: Tony Worrall
The Market Street phone boxes could be repurposed Pic: Tony Worrall

“This early momentum forms part of the Towns Fund bid by transforming the Harris Quarter into the cultural heart of the city. Much of what is put in place under Harris Quarter Pops Up will be there for many years but, like the best creative locations, will adapt and evolve to stay fresh and meet changing demands.

“As with all places across the country, Preston city centre needs an immediate boost to help its recovery following the Covid crisis and Harris Quarter Pops Up will go a long way to help this. Being both locally-focussed and centrally located with great accessibility on foot, by bike or by public transport, the Pops Up concept meets the Council’s and government’s aspirations for clean and green growth.

“While the Harris Quarter Pops Up project is funded through government’s Towns Fund programme it is additional to the submission that the City of Preston Towns Deal Board made for £25m investment to support the cultural regeneration of the Harris Quarter.”

Read more: Preston’s bid for up to £25m from the Towns Fund – and the projects that could benefit

The £1m accelerated funding should be received in the next few weeks, and must be spent within eight months.

Street market by the Harris Pic:åç Tony Worrall
A street market by the Harris Pic: Tony Worrall

A working group has been set up with Maple Grove Developments – the firm involved in the Preston Markets cinema plans – acting as project and development managers.

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What do you think of the plans for the Harris Quarter? Will it encourage you to visit the city centre? Let us know in the comments.

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