The Lancashire Evening Post, Thursday, 19th July 2007
Winckley Square in line for a revamp
Winckley Square is in line for a much-needed make-over, it emerged today. Preston Council has secured 54,000 to attract international landscape designers to improve the city centre gem following a catalogue of complaints about the state of the square. Winckley Square Revamp
Shame was heaped on the city last year when the Evening Post published pictures of the park being used as a rubbish dump, with vandalised picnic tables and uprooted benches.

Now, cash from the North West Development Agency (NWDA) will allow the council to run an international design competition, with experts asked to come up with a "high quality transformation".

Coun Michael Lavalette, who represents the Town Centre ward, said: "We can renovate things so they go back to how they were 150 years ago, but sometimes we want the dynamism of the new combined with the old."

Precise details of the contest have not yet been announced, but the winning vision will need to be in keeping with the conservation area and to improve connections between the city centre and the parks.

The 2m contest will be run through the Landscape Institute, a professional body for landscape design, and six leading designers will be invited to submit outline proposals.

A judging panel including representatives from the council, NWDA and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) - guided by the results of a public consultation will select the winning design.

An application will then be made to the NWDA for cash to fund the work.

Nicola Turner, city vision manager for Preston Council, said: "Winckley Square has a special place in a lot of people's hearts, so we're keen the competition retains what is good about it but improves it as well."

The square was originally separate private gardens for surrounding properties. These were combined in the 1960's to form a public space.

It is hoped that the competition will be launched in September and a design concept can be put in place by March 2008.

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© The Lancashire Evening Post, July 2007