Preston and the listed building

By | Category: Travel news

If a building is listed and open to the public that quite often means that visitors will come to have a look around, marvel at the architecture and learn about the revered people who have helped make it so important.

But would you visit a bus station?

In Preston their 1960’s “brutalist” building has been given Grade II listed status meaning that the building is noteworthy. As the second largest bus station in Europe it has 56,000 passengers using it per day which equates to over 1.5 million “visitors” per year. A lot of museums, galleries and attractions would be delighted to receive that number. And that is before the listing. Will more people travel there now?

Brutalism is a style of architecture that sounds off-putting. English Heritage described the bus stations thus. “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.”

Preston’s council – backed by Lancashire County Council – want to demolish the building. Many locals backed by the Royal Institute of British Architects wanted it retained. The council claimed it was costing £300,000 a year to run and wanted to put up a new one at a cost of over £20 million. Complaints by the council included the fact that it needed millions spent on it to bring it up-to-date but these figures were cheaper than a new building.

Now with the listing, the council can alter the building subject to the rules but not demolish it. Indeed some locals claim that the reason the building needs so much money spent on it is because the council has spent so little on maintenance.

Whatever the arguments, Preston has a new tourist attraction. Even if it means you only go there to change buses!

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