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Historic offices add to regeneration of city centre

Pic caption: L-R: Peter Rankin, leader of Preston City Council, Martin Whittle, partner at the Frank Whittle Partnership, Jennifer Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council, Barry Cleminson, project architect at the Frank Whittle Partnership and Paul Crowther, Townscape Heritage Initiative project manager for Preston City Council

An historic printworks in the heart of Preston has been successfully converted into modern offices thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) Townscape Heritage grant programme and the vision of the Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP).

Work has completed on the transformation of the Edwardian Lambert Brothers printing press building on Glover’s Court in a £650,000 regeneration scheme.

The project, also supported by Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council, to transform the long empty building into bespoke office accommodation aimed at small to medium size businesses has been made possible thanks to a £346,000 HLF grant.

The project is one of many planned as part of HLF’s wider funding to Preston City Council to conserve, protect and bring into use local historic buildings.

The plans, drawn up by Preston-based architecture, design and project management practice FWP, have seen as much of the original building retained as possible.

The development is led by Frank Bretherton, of Glovers Court Preston Limited, who said: “We are delighted to bring this long-empty building back to life and we are proud to play our part in the ongoing regeneration of the city centre.

“HLF funding and the encouragement of the council has enabled us to speculatively redevelop the building and it has been good, as a local company, to see everyone showing confidence in Preston’s economy and future.”

Councillor Peter Rankin, leader of Preston City Council, said: “What an amazing transformation! The combination of the old with the new is a fantastic mix which really makes for a set of truly unique offices right in the heart of Preston city centre.

“Huge care and attention to detail has been given to this restoration and it is lovely to see.  A big thank you to everyone who has been involved from developers, architects, builders and funding bodies – it’s been a real team effort.”

Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “It is very exciting to see this old building brought back to life and I’m pleased that the county council has been able to provide its support.

“Through projects including the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal, Preston and the surrounding area is going from strength to strength and this restoration is part of a broader wave of redevelopment for the city centre as a whole.”

Barry Cleminson, architectural lead on the project at FWP, which has offices in Ribblesdale Place, said: “Without the lottery funding support the refurbishment would not have taken place and we would have been left with a prominent building in the city centre remaining unrestored and vacant.

“There are other similar derelict buildings in need of restoration and it’s great to see all parties working hard to breathe new life into Preston’s historic past and give them a welcome new lease of life.

“There is demand in Preston for modern, refurbished small offices and the history and interior design, which respects that heritage, is an added plus.”

Paul Crowther, Townscape Heritage Initiative project manager for Preston City Council, added: “This project has been a classic example of how local developers and architects can work successfully with the council and the Heritage Lottery Fund to identify, design and deliver quality restoration projects that rediscovers our past and adds to the historic fabric of our city.

“Each new scheme we help to make happen is also part of the wider regeneration of Preston city centre that we are now starting to witness, including the work to breathe new life into nearby Winckley Square.”

Glovers Court Preston Limited is the local company behind the development and construction work was carried out by Thornton Cleveleys based builder Clement Dickens and Son.

The Lambert Brothers printing business was established in 1899 in Glover’s Court and the premises was later expanded.

To complete the project, part of the existing rear section of the building was demolished and a new structure erected with the same footprint.

The front of the building remains largely unchanged and features slim-line framed glazing. And the interior has been completely remodelled by FWP to create open plan offices over a number of floors.

Andrew Mann
After 34 years working in numerous operational and communications disciplines for three FTSE companies (Yorkshire Electricity; Meggitt and BAE Systems), at over a dozen locations, on 24 November 2016, I became the inaugural editor of Business Lancashire.Business Lancashire is a good news, Lancashire focused, business website and daily newsletter. It is a partnership between The Samuel James Group and the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.Over the years, I have written hundreds of press releases, features for trade magazines, copy for websites and brochures, edited in-house magazines and newsletters, as well as presenting a radio programme on Chorley FM. This experience has given me the ideal background for editing Business Lancashire.