Stephen Greenwood, Partner – Farleys Solicitors
With millions of pounds of investment being ploughed into the city centre, bringing with it the creation of thousands of new jobs, alongside the improved transport links, Preston is undergoing its biggest transformation for almost half a century.
All of this is great news for property investors and businesses alike. Recent landmark projects include the refurbishment of the grade-two listed Market Hall, the facelift of the iconic bus station, which was earmarked for demolition just six years ago and the rebirth of the Guild Hall entertainment complex, which is set to bring more entertainment acts and sporting events to the city. The current redevelopment of the old Post Office by Signature Living into the Harris Hotel, will bring further transformation to Preston when it opens its doors and is a strong indicator of the growing levels of private sector interest, alongside various businesses, such as Farleys, who realised the city’s potential and set up operations here.
Preston has recently featured as one of the best places in the UK to live and work, beating its North West counterparts Manchester and Liverpool. It is evident that the City Deal funding has helped hugely in Preston’s regeneration and it now offers a true alternative for investors who would have previously chosen Manchester or Liverpool.
For residents, house prices remain significantly lower than in other cities. The significant development in the city centre and wider afield has attracted overseas investment but that should perhaps be balanced in some way with a means of attracting young owner-occupiers who will live, work and spend their leisure time and money in city centre shops and restaurants.
It’s been a little over a year now but in the short time Farleys’ doors have been open for business in the city, a lot has gone on. We are indebted to the members of the Winckley Square Community Interest Company who secured the investment to regenerate the Square into an area we wanted to establish ourselves in. We chose a central location for our offices because it is still the focal point for a large part of the city’s professional community and have received a very warm welcome.
There is still a lot of work to do, but replicating the targeted investment made so far in other places badly in need of investment will yield good long-term results for the people living and working in Preston.
The city has a bright future and it is great to be here.