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Preston Partnership relaunches with new funding, board and drive to help Preston realise its potential

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The leader of Preston Partnership has revealed plans to help Preston realise its potential following a relaunch of the organisation.

The message comes from John Chesworth, chair of Preston Partnership, after the organisation secured new funding and unveiled a new board and management team.

Preston Partnership, which has over 100 members, originally formed in 2018 with Preston City Council and University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

The organisation led the creation of Preston’s Towns Fund board which secured £20.9million in 2021 to kick-start a £200m regeneration of the city’s cultural Harris Quarter.

Working with Preston City Council, Preston Partnership has now secured £80,000 of funding through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

The funding will enable the partnership to create a dedicated team and resource to grow its membership base, better represent the private sector and work together with Preston’s anchor institutions including Preston City Council, Lancashire County Council, UCLan and other partners to shape and implement future regeneration plans and promote the city.

Activities will also include regular events to improve communication between the private and public sector.

The board will be chaired by John Chesworth, executive chairman of Lancashire and Cumbria law firm, Harrison Drury.

Other board members include:

  • Rob Binns, owner Cotton Court and Lancashire chair, Downtown Lancashire in Business
  • Alban Cassidy, director, Cassidy + Ashton
  • Karen Hirst, managing director, Maple Grove Developments
  • Babs Murphy, CEO, North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce
  • Adrian Phillips, CEO, Preston City Council
  • Rizwan Seth, founder and managing director, Wrkspace
  • Simon Turner, CEO, Freshfield
  • Ginette Unsworth, director of Communications and events, University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)

Beckie Joyce, founder and CEO of regeneration consultancy, Radics Consulting, has been appointed to lead Preston Partnership’s operations team. Beckie was previously head of strategic development at Lancashire County Council and has held senior development roles at Bolton Council and Manchester City Council, working alongside Sir Howard Bernstein.

As part of Preston’s Towns Fund bid, Preston Partnership helped create the City Investment Plan (CIP), a 15-year vision for Preston which sets out the city’s long-term objectives and strategy to transform Preston.

Speaking on the relaunch, John Chesworth, said: “There is positive change flowing through Preston. The £200m Harris Quarter programme is gathering momentum, we have a world-class university that has transformed the city, an award-winning city living strategy, numerous public realm projects and a growing cultural and independent leisure offering.

“Preston also has a hugely diverse and talented private sector that wants to be better represented. Our ambitious membership sees huge opportunities to grow Preston as a place to live, visit, invest in and do business, and we want to harness this ambition with the public sector to shape Preston’s future.

“We don’t aspire to be another Manchester or Liverpool. We have our own identity and strengths, and an opportunity to be a small giant of a modern city at the heart of Lancashire’s evolution.”

John was also part of the Winckley Square Community Interest Company which worked with Preston City Council to secure a £1.2million Heritage Lottery Fund grant to regenerate Winckley Square Gardens in 2016.

John added: “Preston’s Towns Fund success and the Winckley Square project are perfect examples of how partnership can impact places and lives. We believe that by working together we can grow Preston, positively impacting its people, communities and businesses.”

Adrian Phillips, chief executive of Preston City Council, added: “The relaunch of Preston Partnership provides an important platform for the voices of Preston’s business community, and is a significant step forward in harnessing public and private sector collaboration.

“Building and strengthening our existing partnerships and creating new ones is the key to successful future regeneration and investment in the city.”

Membership of Preston Partnership is free until August 30 2024.

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Joining Preston Partnership is free of charge for the first 12 months.

(Sept 1st 2023 - August 31st 2024)

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First tenant confirmed for Animate cinema and leisure complex

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Hollywood Bowl is coming to Preston as part of the city owned multi-million pound cinema and leisure complex, Animate.

This anchor operator, who specialise in operating large, high quality bowling centres, will open a new entertainment venue, which will feature 16 fully computerised lanes with plush seating, a stylish bar and diner and a cutting-edge amusement area, in the new development which will be located on the site of the former indoor market.

Animate will also include a cinema, new restaurants and bars, a car park, and new public square. Further confirmed occupiers will be announced in the coming months.

This scheme will bring growth and development to the city centre as well as bringing in over £7million of extra economic activity every year while creating 140 full time equivalent jobs.

Councillor Matthew Brown, Leader of Preston City Council, said: “Welcoming Hollywood Bowl on-board the Animate scheme is a really positive step forward in our plans to bring this exciting city owned development to Preston for the whole community to benefit from.

“As well as bringing investment and jobs to the people of Preston, this key anchor operator will help support the regeneration of our city centre. This major family attraction is a first for the city centre and will complement our existing leisure offer.  It will bring people into Preston and further support our strongly established small business community.”

Laurence  Keen,  Chief  Financial  Officer  of  Hollywood  Bowl  Group,  said: “We  are  pleased  to  have secured another prime, high footfall destination to enable us to  continue to  execute on our new centre opening strategy. We’re delighted to be bringing the Hollywood Bowl brand to Preston and to be a part of the exciting development of the Animate leisure complex.”

Andrew Dewhurst, Director of Maple Grove Developments, commented: “We’re delighted to have secured Hollywood Bowl as the first named operator for Animate.  This exciting news contributes massively to Preston’s goal of creating a thriving, sustainable city centre with an outstanding leisure and entertainment offer.

“We recently submitted a new planning application for the Animate scheme with Preston City Council and expect to be able to announce further lettings over the winter months.”

Become a

Joining Preston Partnership is free of charge for the first 12 months.

(Sept 1st 2023 - August 31st 2024)

Join today