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Plans submitted to convert former magistrates court into offices and retail space

30 August 2023

Preston City Council's plans to transform the Grade II Listed former magistrates court have been submitted for planning approval.

Amounderness House will undergo a £7.4 million refurbishment and is one of six major projects planned under Preston's Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme, for which the City was awarded £20.9 million from the Government's national Towns Fund initiative in March 2021.

The refurbishment of Amounderness House, originally built in 1857, into a high quality modern, flexible, multi-use workspace hub will help stimulate business, cultural, and community uses in the city centre.

Harris Quarter is a unique area of Preston undergoing a £200 million investment programme to transform its historic buildings, sites and public realm into a diverse culture, leisure and employment offering, with Amounderness House located beside the £45 million+ Animate cinema and leisure complex, which is under construction and due to open in Spring 2025.

Plans for Amounderness House's refurbishment designed by Frank Whittle Partnership include the sensitive repair and redevelopment of the existing former police station, cells and magistrates court building, retaining the historic building fabric wherever possible while creating a space suitable for modern use.

When completed, the refurbishment will see 26 offices circa 645 sq. ft and four craft or retail studios made available. In addition, the existing courtyard will be updated and open for public use.

Maple Grove Developments is working with Preston City Council and W_rkspace as Project/Development Manager via the Lancashire Regeneration Property Partnership to deliver the project.

Chair of Preston's Towns Fund Strategic Board, John Chesworth, said: 

"It's fantastic that plans have been submitted to transform Amounderness House into a vibrant commercial space. The scheme will provide much-needed office accommodation in the City and contribute to the growth of Preston's economy.

"It's a remarkable building with significant historical and architectural importance, and we're delighted to see that those assets are celebrated in the proposed plans."

Smith and Love is the planning consultant for the scheme. Director Deborah Smith added:

"The reuse and repurposing of Amounderness House will make a significant contribution to Preston Council's regeneration plans for the city centre".

Nik Puttnam, senior development manager with Maple Grove Developments, concluded:

"The submission of the planning application and listed building consent is another key milestone which has been achieved on the project. Maple Grove is proud to be working with Preston City Council on this important part of the wider regeneration and investment programme for Preston City Centre."

The project team for Amounderness House also includes Cowburn-Watson Box, SCP Transport, Eden Heritage, E3P, TRP Consulting, and Graham Schofield Associates.

Further information

Towns Fund - Town Deals

On 27 July 2019, the Prime Minister announced that the Towns Fund would support an initial 101 places across England to develop Town Deal proposals, to drive economic regeneration and deliver long-term economic and productivity growth. See further details of the announcement by visiting GOV.UK - PM speech at Manchester Science and Industry Museum.

Preston's City Investment Plan is a 15-year vision for Preston, setting out Preston's long-term objectives and strategy to transform the City, targeting resources and aligning public and private sector investments to respond to needs and capitalise on opportunities for positive change.

Preston City Council actively applies and prioritises the principles of Community Wealth Building wherever applicable and appropriate. Community Wealth Building is an approach which aims to ensure the economic system builds wealth and prosperity for everyone. 

Projects included in Preston's £200 million Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme are:

  • Animate - £45 million multi-use entertainment and leisure complex anchored by a state-of-the-art cinema and bowling venue next to Preston Markets
  • Educate Preston - The creation of a new Careers and Employment, Information, Advice and Guidance Hub in the Harris Quarter.
  • Renewal of Harris Quarter Assets - Investment to support the redevelopment of publicly-owned buildings in the Harris Quarter to support new cultural and community uses, including Amounderness House.
  • Illuminate and Integrate - A project to deliver improved pedestrian and cycleway infrastructure, street lighting and other public realm improvements within the Harris Quarter.
  • Preston Youth Zone - The development of Preston Youth Zone as a state-of-the-art facility for young people in Preston aged eight to 19.
  • #HarrisYourPlace - The refurbishment of the Grade I listed Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library, enhancing and protecting the building for future generations.
  • Preston Pop Ups - £1 million pop-up programme of events bringing together new temporary event space, artworks and improvements to public realm infrastructure, aimed at boosting visitor activity in the Harris Quarter.