New flats plan could 'kickstart' city regeneration

artist's impression of new flats on Church Street
About 280 flats will be built on the site near Church Street [DAY Architectural]

Plans for a 19-storey block of flats which could “kickstart” a rundown part of Preston city centre have been approved.

About 280 flats will be built across the development - which has an adjacent four-storey element - and a separate new 11-floor tower on the same plot at the junction of Church Street and Manchester Road.

The site is currently occupied by a row of disused shops.

Clare Bland, agent for the property, said there would also be a public space “similar, if not better” than the popular Winckley Square.

“The aspiration is to make a space that everybody wants to use,” she said at a meeting of Preston City Council’s planning committee.

The 19-storey tower will include 125 one-bedroomed flats and 51 two-bed properties on the upper floors.

The adjoining four-storey block overlooking Church Street will house three commercial units on the ground floor, along with 18 one-bed and six two-bed flats.

The plans were unanimously approved, with committee member John Rutter saying it was for a “part of town that desperately needs to be redeveloped”.

Affordable housing review

The Church Street flats will not contain any discounted affordable housing, as the applicant said the scheme would not be financially viable if they had to ensure 30% of the properties fell into that category, as is usually required by the council’s planning policies.

Ms Bland said building costs since 2020 had “gone absolutely through the roof”.

“So it’s not a matter of in any way trying to divert provision from affordable housing,” she said.

A review is planned for a later date so the council can retrieve a financial contribution towards affordable housing elsewhere in the city if the scheme generates a greater profit than currently forecast.

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