The Preston landmark is in line for a major restoration as part of a £1m transformation.
Cash has now been secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund to support a project to revive Preston’s Winckley Square.
Having hurdled the first round, organisations have been given £22,500 to develop new vision for the Georgian beauty spot.
The Winckley Square Future Project hopes to revitalise the “city centre gem”, including with physical improvements and a celebration of the heritage of the area.
The partnership will now work to produce full-scale proposals, and if successful, the Lottery will give about £1m for the project.
The environmental charity Groundwork Lancashire West and Wigan, Winckley Square Community Interest Company (WSCIC) and Preston City Council have received the initial support from the Lottery, meaning the project meets funding criteria.
David Gill, chairman of WSCIC, said: “This is wonderful news and the culmination of a lot of hard work that has gone on behind the scenes since 2011. There is a lot of work still to be done to secure the funding, but the fact HLF support the outline plans is a huge step in the right direction.
“Everything we are doing is geared towards creating a sympathetic improvement of the square, improving its usability. That is what the community stipulated in our public consultation in 2011 and 2012.
“We believe that Winckley Square and the surrounding district has the potential to be a historical, yet vibrant, visual, cultural and intellectual outdoor experience, bringing delight to the people of Preston and visitors alike. We are now working on a detailed stage two application which will be ready for summer 2014.”
The project aims to create a new vision for the square, including a series of improvements to enhance access, security and drainage.
Andrew Darron, executive director of Groundwork Lancashire West and Wigan, said: “The consultation has delivered a really exciting vision for Winckley Square, where nature, landscape and heritage can come together right in the heart of the city. We’re looking forward to bringing more people into the discussion as we develop the next level of detail for the project.”
Coun Robert Boswell, cabinet member for environment, added: “This is fantastic news for the whole city. This announcement reaffirms the Heritage Lottery Fund’s support for the area as it has already proposed to support a project to restore the buildings on the square. It will give the area a lift and hopefully kick-start investment and regeneration which will bring economic benefits.
“We are committed to working with Groundwork and the Winckley Square Community Interest Company to deliver a vision for the square which will enhance this city centre gem.”
Babs Murphy, of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Winckley Square is high on our priority list, hence supporting the Winckley Square Community Interest Company (WSCIC) and the business located in the commercial district with our annual financial investment towards development.
“This year, Preston Business Improvement District (BID), will have donated £120,000. We will continue to work with all partners to ensure the Square receives the investment and attention it deserves.”