Preston unveils £7m Amounderness House revamp plans
Formerly a magistrates’ court, the grade two-listed building would be transformed into a coworking office complex under the city council’s proposals.
Preston City Council has submitted plans to bring the disused Amounderness House back into use and help secure its long-term future with hopes to deliver 6,400 sq ft of office space.
Designed by FWP Architects, the scheme would also create an accessible main entrance to the building, which is located on the corner of Lancaster and Road and Earl Street within the city’s Market Quarter.
The property’s 1,700 sq ft central hub would sit on the ground floor and feature breakout, hot desk, and social space, along with seven office units ranging from 100 sq ft to 900 sq ft.
There would also be four commercial units built – two in former courthouse cells and two in a new south wing extension.
Moving up to the first floor, proposals would see former cells converted to provide four offices, along with the delivery of another 13 offices offering up to 600 sq ft of space.
A further six offices would be found on the second floor, as well as a roof terrace overlooking the courtyard.
Outside, the courtyard, which is currently used as a council car park, would be transformed into a public space with proposals including paving, lighting, and planting works.
Notably, works will endeavour to retain “the form and features of the historic building fabric, wherever possible”, according to a design and access statement.
Amounderness House was originally constructed in 1857 as a police station with holding cells, before being extended into a magistrates’ court in 1901. The property has been vacant for more than 20 years.
In February, it was announced that office provider W_rkspace will operate the hub.
Neil Ainsworth, partner at Preston-headquartered FWP, said: “Our plans centre on returning this long-disused building back into use as a modern office hub that meets the needs of businesses, while preserving its great character.
“To that end, the building’s original elements will be retained and sensitively redeveloped, with restoration work a key part of the project”, he continued.
“We’ve worked hard to make sure that the interior of Amounderness House will be largely retained and reconfiguration work is kept to the minimum and the same goes for its historic external appearance.
“In all the design work we have looked to strike a delicate balance, in order to revitalise a building that has stood empty for over 20 years and has been noted as ‘at risk’ while being sensitive to any heritage impact.”
The £7.4m project is one of six planned under Preston’s £200m Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme. The government awarded Preston £20.9m from its National Towns Fund initiative towards the programme in March 2021, through which the city wishes to transform its historic buildings to provide leisure and employment facilities.
Maple Grove Developments is working with Preston City Council as project manager under the Lancashire Regeneration Property Partnership to deliver the project.
Smith & Love Planning Consultants submitted the application on behalf of the council. The project team also includes SCP Transport, Eden Heritage, E3P, TRP Consulting, and Graham Schofield Associates.
To learn more about the plans search for application number 06/2023/0888 on Preston City Council’s planning portal.