Preston Bus Station should be demolished, says council boss
Preston's bus station should be demolished, the leader of the city council has said.
Councillors will be asked to vote to demolish the building, described as an "iconic modernist structure", on 17 December.
Council leader Peter Rankin (Labour) said demolishing and rebuilding it was better value for money.
But campaigners argue the station is profitable and is an outstanding piece of architecture.
Mr Rankin said the 43-year-old building costs £297,000 to run annually and the repair bill would be £5.4m to install new lifts, ramps and concrete work.
Preston bus station must be one of the most talked about buildings in Lancashire, if sometimes for the wrong reasons.
The collapse of the Tithebarn project - the £700m city centre regeneration scheme which collapsed when John Lewis pulled out just over a year ago - begged the question about what should be done with the building.
It happens to be on a list of "treasured places at risk" compiled by the World Monument organisation but Preston Council's decision reflects the harsh financial realities of today.
It will actually be the County Council, which will pick up the tab and come up with a plan for a smaller bus station. We wait to see what the plans will be.
But spare a thought for those who have a soft spot for the place and will feel sadness when demolition teams eventually move in.
He added estimates for refurbishing the whole building range from £17m to £23.1m.
"I just cannot see how we can truly justify spending up to £23m of taxpayers' money on a building with a 20-year design life remaining," said Mr Rankin.'Profit claim'
But campaigner John Wilson, who collected a 1,500 signature petition calling for a council debate on the station, disputed Mr Rankin's figures.
"The bus station and its car park make a profit - we just don't understand why the council want to get rid of it," he said.
"It is still a bus station that is fit for purpose. I think the councillors are just testing the temperature."
Architecture experts have also condemned the plan to bulldoze what is seen as a good example of the Brutalist school of architecture.
Hugh Pearman, Editor of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Journal, tweeted: "This is terrible news. They really are going to demolish Preston bus station, the idiots."
Dr Steve Millington, of Manchester Metropolitan University, also tweeted: "It is an iconic modernist structure of international significance. The region stands to lose another architectural asset."