A new application to redevelop Harris Park for residential use has been submitted.Advertisement
The plans would see existing buildings converted to housing, new homes built, and changes to the overall site including moving the war memorial.
A previous application was blocked after campaign group Friends of Harris Park battled to stop the redevelopment of the former orphanage, which is owned by multi-millionaire Yousuf Bhailok.
Read more: Harris Park housing plans blocked by Preston City Council as campaigners declare victory
The fresh plans feature fewer new houses – down from 58 to 16 in the western part of the site, and eight to three by the orphanage. The application states the numbers have been ‘repeatedly reduced’ through the pre-application process in order to ‘take on board the views of officers, and to achieve a density which sits more comfortably alongside the historic orphanage’.
Despite this, the Friends of Harris Park have expressed their disappointment at the new application.
Founder member of the campaign group Prema Taylor said: “We are disappointed at these latest applications to develop Harris Park, which will have a significant impact on the character of this Grade II listed property, and clearly seeks to remove any access to it by the community.
“We had sincerely hoped to work with the owner to find a mutually beneficial way to achieve a satisfactory solution, and are in preliminary talks with Councillor David Borrow requesting him to consider the inclusion of funding of the restoration project in the Levelling Up Fund. We have also similarly approached the Preston Partnership.
“In particular the owner’s application to move the war memorial and reconstruct the wall displays a clear intention to create a private, gated community. This is despite an application for a Right of Way based on historical, informal passage which is pending with Lancashire County Council, which is unlikely to be considered till March 2022.
“We intend to put forward a robust objection to these applications and information about how to do so are on our Facebook page.”
Read more: Friends of Harris Park urge Preston City Council to use Levelling Up Fund to buy site for community use
Historic England has also responded to the plans, saying it doesn’t object to the principle of the application because it would secure the future of the listed buildings with an active use.
The public body does however raise concerns about planned landscaping works, and the possible impact on the ‘open and green nature and historic character of the site’. It also urges planning officers to consider whether there is enough justification to move the war memorial, which it says could be ‘harmful’.
The full proposals are as follows:
In pictures: Grade II listed Harris Park buildings in state of disrepair
Visit the Preston City Council website for more on the application for the redevelopment of the site for residential use (06/2021/1604) and the listed building consent (06/2021/1605).
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What do you think of the new plans? Let us know in the comments.