The Lancashire Evening Post, Tuesday, 1st March 2011
In defence of the city square
Jeeremy Coates
With a history that can be traced back at least as far as 1799 when the first Georgian era house was built, Winckley Square's park and its associated buildings have had a prominent presence within Preston for centuries.

It is an area which has long been associated with business in the city from the early days when wealthy cotton mill owners built their homes there to more recent times when it has become `home' to countless accountants and law firms.

This is why, in January, I decided to move our Magma Digital business to Winckley Square.

At first look they might not obviously fit the expected profile of businesses to be found in the rest of the square, however there are a number of similarities with digital agencies such as ours and the more traditionally observed businesses on the square, we all share a similar consultancy based approach to our day to day activities.

People often assume that young entrepreneurial companies are not interested in history and culture, however, when we outgrew our previous premises in Leyland, we selected Winckley Square for that very reason.

We were also attracted by the large amount of greenery visible through our office windows which are all elements which help us to continue to focus on our creativity.

We looked at a number of modern office parks around the outskirts of Preston, the kind which the city will be looking to develop in the Central Business District which has become a topic of debate in recent months. But, whilst they were good open-plan offices they were not able to compare with the presence and prestige offered by Winckley Square and, as a company which does much of its business online, I can offer another value of being associated with it. Just type Winckley Square in to Google and you will immediately see the association of those two words with Preston, that is something that `Central Business District' is not likely to achieve as it's simply too generic.

It is a myth to think that new generation companies want everything to be modern, of course we want some things like high-speed broadband and good amenities and this is why classic-style houses with modern functionality is exactly what Winckley Square should exploit.

Get that right and the area should give any modern business park a run for its money.

Jeremy Coates is managing director of Magma Digital on Winckley Square in Preston city centre.

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© The Lancashire Evening Post, March 2011