Breathtaking 30-storey hotel and apartment tower in the heart of Preston would be Lancashire's tallest building

A colossal 30-storey hotel and apartment tower, taller than any building in Lancashire, is being planned for the centre of Preston.

Saturday, 16th October 2021, 11:46 am
The 21-storey building approved in 2019 - the new tower will be nine storeys higher.

The spectacular skyscraper, which will stand around 100 metres high and dominate the city skyline, is on the drawing board to replace the old Foresters Hall student block in Great George Street.

Developers Providence Gate are sounding out Preston Council about the idea before deciding whether to submit a full planning application.

The tower would include a 172-room luxury hotel on the lower nine floors, with 194 apartments on floors 10 to 29.

The Foresters Hall, built in 1879, will be demolished to make way for the new skyscraper.

Crowning things off would be a rooftop restaurant/bar and roof garden.

If built, the tower would dwarf the two 16-storey apartment complexes currently being built - Bhailock Court near to the bus station and a similar sized complex at the bottom of Avenham Street.

It would also be at least twice the height of Preston's existing tower blocks like the 15-storey Guild Centre and the 14-floor Unicentre, both near the bus station and Guild Hall.

And it would be even taller than the eye-catching spire of the St Walburge's Church which is the UK's tallest on a parish church.

Approved in 2019, the 21-storey tower is now on the back burner, with a 30-storey skyscraper planned instead.

But first the project must satisfy the local authority that it would not have too great an impact on the environment in the city centre.

It follows a similar application for a 21-storey apartment block called LoftHaus on the same site which was approved by the council in July 2019, but has since been put on ice.

The plan would be to demolish the historic Foresters Hall, which is currently a 27-bed student block. The building was constructed in 1878 and after the Second World War became a nightclub with a variety of names including Samantha's, The Flamingo and The Cherry Tree.

Historic England say that while the distinctive building, created as the Preston Lodge of the Ancient Order of Foresters, is regarded locally as a non-designated heritage asset, its loss would not have a "significant environmental effect."

In its application to the council for a screening opinion the developer says: "Whilst 30 storeys in height, it is considered that a development of this size and in this context is not significant and would not give rise to significant environmental effects by virtue of its size.

"The appearance of the development is deliberately contemporary to reflect a modern and vibrant city in line with city living aspirations.

"The site and location of the building offers an opportunity for a building which creates visual interest, whilst maintaining the character of the surrounding developed buildings.

"It is not considered that the proposed development would lead to significant environmental effects with regards to its landscape and visual impact."