The Victorian Society urges Preston Council not to let flats plan for former Park Hotel extension ruin historic views

The Victorian Society has objected to plans to extend the elegant former Park Hotel in Preston with a huge L-shaped, wrap around, extension which is 4-5 stories higher than the original building. The hotel site needs sensitive development as it is highly visible from the railway and surrounding listed parks and conservation areas. There is a precedent for further building on the site of the demolished neighbouring 60s tower block, but the current plans will harm the historic building and the surrounding area.


Photo: Preston Park Hotel. Photo Copyright: Dr Greg under Creative Commons license.

Photo: Preston Park Hotel. Photo Copyright: Dr Greg under Creative Commons license.

Guy Newton, Conservation Adviser, The Victorian Society said: “Sadly, these plans will harm the historic hotel more than the demolished 60s tower did. Currently, the eye is drawn through carefully landscaped gardens upwards to the former hotel. This proposal would permanently harm the existing 19th-century relationship with the wider landscape, integral to both these early municipal parks. This would harm the setting of surrounding listed and heritage buildings. Preston Council must refuse this application and work with the developers to come back with a scheme which restores the original building and creates and new more sensitively designed accommodation. This is a once in a generation opportunity to get key site right for Preston.”

The Society’s objection letter to the Council can be viewed here.

The extensions would be overly dominant and out-of-place in the Avenham Conservation Area, which has domestic scale architecture and carefully designed views. Any new structure should enhance the conservation area while being subservient to the former hotel’s size and outline to prevent harming the historic building and surrounding listed parks.

The former Park Hotel was built in 1883 as a railway hotel catering to passengers travelling through Preston. Former guests are reported to have included the future King Edward VII, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and Gracie Fields. Its strategic, landmark location offers scenic views of the surrounding parklands and is a key feature of views in the Avenham Conservation Area, which is notable for its mixture of townhouses, attractive views, and listed parks. Both Miller Park and Avenham Park are Grade II* listed and were designed by landscape designer Edward Milner in 1861 and 1864, respectively. Milner (1819-1884) was originally apprenticed to Sir Joseph Paxton, best known for designing the Crystal Palace. Miller and Avenham parks are considered significant as early examples of municipal park. The location of the hotel is therefore extremely sensitive as it is so prominent and affects numerous other heritage assets around it.

The hotel structure was offices for Lancashire County Council for decadesThe administrators of Lancashire County Council’s own pension fund took ownership of the site in 2016. In 2020, the adjoining 1960s office tower was demolished. The planning application is being made by a North West based developer, see the application by taking this link and entering this code 06/2023/0510



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