Preston Bus Station given Grade II listed status

Preston Bus Station Preston City Council says the bus station does not offer value for money

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Preston's under-threat bus station has been given Grade II listed status by the government.

Preston City Council wants to demolish the station, saying it would cost more than £17m to modernise.

Its leader, Peter Rankin, said news of the listing was "not the outcome we were hoping for".

But campaigners welcomed the decision taken by Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Culture, saying it was "brilliant news".

Analysis

Ed Vaizey has certainly put the cat among the pigeons with this announcement. It is some kind of reprieve for the bus station, which has been under constant threat of demolition.

Preston Council leader Peter Rankin might be calling the Culture Minister to ask for some financial help given that it costs the council £300,000 a year to maintain the building.

For those who have campaigned against demolition this will be very welcome news indeed.

For the two councils [Preston and Lancashire] involved, there is a heavy burden ahead and this long running saga continues.

English Heritage said the Grade II listing would not prevent changes being made to the building, provided its architectural significance was protected.

Councillors say it costs £300,000 a year to run the bus station and the estimated cost of getting it up to "modern-day standards" would be between £17m and £23m.

'Savvy architecture minister'

Labour councillor Mr Rankin said: "We've always said the bus station is too big, provides relatively poor facilities for bus passengers and costs Preston taxpayers over £300,000 a year to maintain.

"We will have to take some time now to consider the listing decision and the options for moving forward.

"We need to look at costs and the impact on budgets and how it affects Preston taxpayers.

"We will work closely with Lancashire County Council as transport authority to consider the next steps."

The Royal Institute of British Architects Journal, which has backed a campaign to save the building, posted a message on Twitter, saying: "Well done to all campaigners."

Preston Bus Station The building has nine levels and 1,100 car park spaces

Journal Editor Hugh Pearman added: "Ed Vaizey, you are a star. Our very savvy architecture minister has listed the wonderful Preston Bus Station."

'Ingenuity of design'

A spokeswoman for English Heritage said the building "fully deserves this marker of recognition".

"Preston Bus Station is truly remarkable," she said.

"The boldness of vision, the ingenuity of the design, the attention to detail and the aesthetic impact mark it out from the vast numbers of public buildings built since the Second World War.

"We are aware that Preston City Council faces challenges in maintaining the structure and integrating it effectively with the city centre and that, as a result, it has decided it wishes to demolish it.

"We will, however, continue to explore with the council how these challenges can be addressed so that the building can once again play a key role in the life of the city."

Built in the 1960s, the bus station is seen as a prime example of the Brutalist school of architecture.

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