The Lancashire Evening Post, Thursday, 19th February 2008
Preston park set to sparkle again
The jewel in Preston's crown is to sparkle again. Winckley Square, once home to the town's richest residents, is to get a makeover costing up to 3m.

A 64-jet water fountain which doubles as a stage when turned off will be the centrepiece of the redeveloped square, along with granite walkways, fibre optic lighting, sculptures and metal artwork.

A leading history expert is "horrified" by the plans for the 19th Century square.

But workers and business people said they were pleased that something was finally being done to improve the area.

The Evening Post has previously highlighted how the square has become a rubbish dump, with vandalised picnic tables and overturned benches

Winckley Square 2008
It is now hoped cash from the North West Development Agency (NWDA) will allow the transformation to take place.

But Linda Barton, archivist at the Preston Historical Society, said: "The thought there's going to be fibre optics and water jets on there is beyond comprehension and I'm quite horrified really.

"I'm not against change but it does have to be in keeping.

"They've already spoilt some of it by taking down some of the very old buildings and the thought they might be ruining the aesthetics of the square needs to be considered again."

Others welcomed the news that Cooper Partnership, a Bristol-based consultancy, had come up with the winning design in a bid to breathe new life into the square.

Councillor Ken Cole, who represents the town centre ward, said it could become a "perfect" location for couples to have their wedding photographs taken.

In total, five designers submitted proposals before a decision was taken by judges Preston Council, Preston Vision Board, the NWDA and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.

Councillor Anthony Gornall, cabinet member for regeneration, said: "We were blown away by the quality of the winning design."

To view an artists impression of this proposed architectural gem, please click the link "Winning Design"

To view plans of this project, use the links below:

Landscape Proposals, 2.99 MB PDF file .

Views, 1.29 MB PDF file .

Site Context, 1.07 MB PDF file .

To view the .pdf file, you will need the free Adobe® Acrobat® Reader or plug-in. If you do not have Acrobat Reader, please select the "Get Acrobat Reader" icon for further instructions.

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© The Lancashire Evening Post, February 2008