Category Blog

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Downsizing by the Punk generation

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It seems fitting that Tory housing minister Gavin Barwell has lost his seat in this month’s General Election because his Government has consistently failed to take the lead in solving the UK’s housing crisis.

He and his predecessors turned a blind eye to the tens of thousands of empty London homes owned by foreign companies and individuals.

They have watched as the UK’s property market has turned from an ‘own your own home’ ambition to one in which it is almost impossible to buy a new home in the centre of our towns and cities as companies latch onto to the profits to be made from the ‘built to rent’ generation.

There is still no obvious strategy for encouraging development in the places that need it and housing seems to be one area of policy where ‘leaving it to the market’...

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Preston launches City Living strategy

Preston has unveiled a City Living strategy in a bid to attract inward investment from developers and investors with the full support of the public sector.

Preston’s leaders are aiming for a new wave of high quality residential development across the city centre and Cushman and Wakefield has produced a City Living Prospectus to support future investment.

The global real estate experts are advising Preston City Council on how to successfully deliver the kind of new homes people will want to buy, rent and live in, having worked in a similar capacity in Manchester for many years.

The strategy has crucially identified national, regional and local trends coming together to provide a solid platform for investment and the delivery of quality residential developments in the city.

Preston City ...

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Preston -v- Longridge: A tale of two house-building problems

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Too many planning applications for new homes approved, not enough houses being built.

That’s the story in Preston’s neighbour Longridge according to a town councillor who has called for a moratorium on planning consents and accused the plc housebuilders of land-banking, not building.

Ken Hind claims the town’s allocation of new homes has been exceeded and of those given permission 870 have yet to be started.

He told the Lancashire Post: “It looks good on the company balance sheet – land worth 50 times more with planning consent than without it – but does not help elderly people wanting retirement bungalows in Longridge.

“The housing market is strangled in Longridge because the Preston Council has granted applications for 800 homes on the Whittingham side of Longridge without the n...

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Chic hotels can inspire Preston’s city living scene

The reality of Preston’s emergence as a regional city can be viewed through its hotel offer.

The city currently offers nothing beyond budget chains, such as the Premier and Holiday Inns, indicating a lack of demand in past decades from either the business or tourist sectors.

With a limited leisure entertainment offer and no big annual music, arts, political, sports or food festivals, Preston is a place that has to be content with merely servicing its own population and acting as a genuinely good gateway to other places.

In the next couple of years, however, this will change.

First to open will probably be the Old Post Office, the classic late Victorian/early Edwardian building in Birley Street that separates the Flag Market from the outdoor markets, which is being renovated and converte...

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2017 – A 10-point plan for Preston

There will be a lot of talk this year about development plans for Preston as the city seeks to firmly put an end to 20 plus years of stagnation.

The last 12 months witnessed the beginnings of a revival that could see the North West’s third city finally taking its place on the development map and a realistic (and much cheaper) alternative offer to Manchester and Liverpool.

Public realm and infrastructure projects were either begun – the new outdoor market – or completed – the Fishergate streetscape and Winckley Square renovation.

And plans are being formed in the Town Hall and at County Hall to keep spending the £434 million City Deal cash from central Government on further improvements to Preston city centre.

Work will get underway in 2017 on the revamped bus station and youth zon...

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£10m hotel & casino passed by Preston’s planners

Ambitious £10 million plans to transform Preston’s tallest tower into a hotel, casino and spa have been approved by the city council.

Chief architects and master-planners, the Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP), have designed a glittering new future for the 15-storey Guild Tower – the latest in a succession of good news stories for Lancashire’s biggest city.

FWP is leading the rejuvenation of some of the city’s most important assets including the historic Victorian Market and the iconic 1970s Guild Hall complex.

Now, the city’s leading multi-disciplinary architecture and construction firm has successfully steered plans to transform Preston’s tallest office building into a stylish 105-room aparthotel with a casino, spa and gym.

Seb Salisbury, architect at FWP, is leading the trans...

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Howard Gayle: “Blackburn Rovers and my best ever football season – 1988/89”

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The first black footballer to play for Blackburn Rovers (and Liverpool) may not be how Howard Gayle wishes his playing career to be remembered.

The explosive, muscular wing-play, important goals, his rapport with team-mates, in particular strike partner Simon Garner, and above all perhaps his folk hero status on the terraces; all these would be plenty enough to guarantee Gayle a place in the Rovers fans’ pantheon of past players.

But Gayle, born in Toxteth in Liverpool in May 1958, was playing at exactly the time of the 1970s and 1980s when racism was rife in English football grounds and black footballers – Cyril Regis, Laurie Cunningham, John Barnes and others – were both the target of moronic abuse (and worse) and, conversely, the inspiration for anti-racism sentiment to get behind...

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Preston is North West’s top city for growth

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Preston has been rated the top city in the North West for ‘good growth’, an economic report says.

The city is ranked above Manchester and Liverpool on a number of key measures of economic success and personal and family wellbeing.

In an annual assessment of the UK’s largest cities by Price Waterhouse Coopers, The Good Growth Guide 2016 reports Preston scores highly for home ownership, jobs, and new business start-ups.

The report attributes some of this growth to the Northern Powerhouse with Stephanie Hyde, a PwC executive board member, calling on the government to support devolution, claiming it would further strengthen the economy in the north.untitled-2

She said: “Devolution is a central part of the answer to unleashing the economic potential of the UK...

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Businesses vote ‘yes’ to a £2.5m fund for Preston city centre

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Preston’s Business Improvement District has been re-elected for a third term by 800 businesses in the city centre contributing one per cent of their rateable value to the BID fund annually.

Businesses voted by a massive 78.4% (individual vote) and 92% rateable value vote for the organisation that has succeeded in delivering improvements to the city centre to continue for a further five-years.

Babs Murphy, the Chief Executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce the accountable body for Preston BID said:  “This result sends out a very clear message to businesses and investors that things are now starting to happen in our city.

‘This five year term represents a very real opportunity for businesses in Preston to invest together, to work together, and to influence toget...

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FWP brews up some sunshine in Morecambe

Morecambe based sight loss charity, Galloway’s Society for the Blind, has opened its first social enterprise coffee shop, Brew Me Sunshine, with a design by the Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP).

Designed to be a more public face to Galloway’s, Brew Me Sunshine is situated in the old Visitor Building on Victoria Street, in the centre of Morecambe.

Stuart Clayton, Chief Executive at Galloway’s, commented, “We’ve worked tirelessly over the last three years to ensure that not only is our new Morecambe hub of the highest standard for local people living with sight loss but that we are able to use this opportunity to engage with the wider public about our work...

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