The Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme is a £200 million, transformational regeneration programme in Preston’s Harris Quarter, the city’s cultural and civic heart.

Led by Preston Partnership and Preston City Council, it has been kickstarted by a £20.9 million Town Deal which Preston secured in March 2021 as part of the government’s £3.6 billion Towns Fund, established to help level up towns and cities around the country.

The Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme aims to transform Preston’s cultural infrastructure, focusing on the city’s cultural and leisure facilities, spaces and programmes.

The projects:

  • CEIAG Hub: The creation of a new Careers and Employment, Information, Advice and Guidance Hub in the Harris Quarter.
  • Animate: The delivery of a new cinema and bowling attraction with food and drink venues, a car park and public square next to Preston Markets.
  • Renewal of Harris Quarter Assets: Investment to support the redevelopment of key Harris Quarter assets, Amounderness House, and 10-12 Lancaster Road to stimulate business, cultural and community uses.
  • Illuminate and Integrate: A project to deliver improved pedestrian and cycleway infrastructure, street lighting and other public realm improvements within the Harris Quarter.
  • Preston Youth Zone: The development of Preston Youth Zone as a state-of-the-art facility for young people in Preston aged eight to 19.
  • #HarrisYourPlace: The refurbishment of the Grade I listed Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library, enhancing and protecting the building for generations to come.

As part of the Town Deal, Preston received £1m in accelerated funding, part of the government’s aim to help places “build back better” in the wake of Covid-19.

The funding is being invested in a Pop Ups programme of events, installations and visitor attractions, including the installation of a Wallace & Gromit bench sculpture, paying homage to the animated duo’s creator, Nick Park, who was born in Preston.

The Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme will be delivered between 2021 and 2026.

It is the first stage of Preston’s ambitious and community-led 15-year City Investment Plan (PCIP), the purpose of which is to put the richness of life within reach for the people of Preston.

Who is behind this?

The Partnership played a lead role in the creation of Preston’s City Investment Plan.

In 2019, Preston Partnership created a special Towns Fund Board to lead and oversee Preston’s successful Towns Fund bid.

The board includes:

The people and communities of Preston are also playing a key role.

Through the Towns Fund Board, Preston is engaging with residents, businesses and other organisations to identify projects that will help deliver a huge social, economic and environmental benefits to the city.

Why focus on the Harris Quarter?

By focussing our £20.9 million Towns Fund investment on the Harris Quarter, we will unlock a wide range of benefits for Preston and its communities.

Estimated benefits include:

  • The restoration and safeguarding of Lancashire’s premier cultural destination, The Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library, attracting an additional 100,000 annual visitors.
  • A new cinema-led mixed use leisure scheme, diversifying the city centre’s leisure and cultural offer, supporting 125 new jobs and £7m in GVA per year and providing a range of community initiatives.
  • Provision of additional and enhanced public open space, public realm and city centre built environment
  • Coordinated and programmed use of four city public spaces, increasing the number of events held and visitors to the city.
  • Refurbishment and re-use of historic buildings, providing modern space for commercial, leisure, cultural and community uses, and creating around 75-100 new jobs.
  • Increased council tax and business rates generated from new commercial and residential uses.
  • A new city centre Youth Zone, supporting around 2,500 active members, provision of a range of services and the creation of 35 jobs and 90 volunteer roles.
  • Reduced youth employment levels as a result of a new city centre facility providing skills, career and employment advice.
  • Construction employment and training opportunities, and the delivery of comprehensive community benefits frameworks linked to skills, training, inclusivity and local environment.
  • Enhanced levels of local cultural capacity and skills to support the growth of the cultural sector, particularly community focused activities.
  • Improved perceptions of the city by residents, visitors and investors.
  • Catalyst for further investment in the city and community, and increased awareness and place brand confidence.
  • £85m in additional GVA (Gross Value Added measures the contribution made to an economy).
  • £31m Social Return on Investment (this is the quantification of the relative importance that people place on the changes they experience in their lives).
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