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Planning approved for £7.4 million refurbishment of former magistrates court

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Amounderness House will undergo a £7.4 million refurbishment and is one of six major projects planned under Preston’s Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme, for which the City was awarded £20.9m from the Government’s national Towns Fund initiative in March 2021.

Harris Quarter is a unique area of Preston undergoing a £200m investment programme to transform its historic buildings, sites and public realm into a diverse culture, leisure and employment offering, with Amounderness House located beside the £45m Animate cinema and leisure complex, which is under construction and due to open in Spring 2025.

The refurbishment of Amounderness House, originally built in 1857 as a police station with several holding cells, will be transformed into a high-quality modern, flexible, multi-use workspace hub that Wrkspace will operate.

Designed by FWP Architects, the sympathetic refurbishment of the Grade II listed building will create 26 offices circa 645 sq. ft and four craft or retail studios. In addition, the existing courtyard will be updated and open for public use.

Maple Grove Developments is working with Preston City Council and Wrkspace as Project/Development Manager to deliver the project.

Chair of Preston Partnership, John Chesworth, said: “It’s fantastic to see this magnificent building being brought back into use as it will help stimulate business, cultural, and community uses in Preston city centre.

“We are making significant progress in regenerating the Harris Quarter and seeing a ripple effect of interest in what Preston is achieving as an attractive place to live, work and play.”

Leader of Preston City Council, Cllr Matthew Brown, added: “On the back of this excellent news we can transform Amounderness House and capitalise on this asset being in public ownership and using it to support growing local businesses.

“Furthermore, in line with our Community Wealth Building principles we’re working with Preston-based Wrkspace to run this important heritage asset as it helps to boost our economy.”

Nik Puttnam, senior development manager with Maple Grove Developments, added: “Bringing new purpose to older buildings like Amounderness House is rewarding and we’re looking forward to making a start on the transformation of this superb historic building.

“Renovating listed buildings comes with its challenges, especially one that has been vacant for so long, but when complete it will complement other projects in the Harris Quarter and be an economic driver for the city centre .”

Rizwan Seth, managing director of Wrkspace, concluded: “The Wrkspace team is looking forward to welcoming Amounderness House into our flexible office space portfolio. The addition of a high quality city centre provision, compliments the existing business centre offering across the North West.

“Amounderness House will be a beacon for growth for new and existing businesses within Preston, encouraging flexible workspace provisions as the ever changing working requirements evolve”.

Smith & Love Planning Consultants submitted the application on behalf of Preston City Council and the wider project team for Amounderness House includes Cowburn-Watson Box, SCP Transport, Eden Heritage, E3P, TRP Consulting, and Graham Schofield Associates.

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