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Preston gets go-ahead for 'vital' Tithebarn development

Arif Ansari | 16:59 UK time, Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Some big news for Lancashire today. I understand that the hugely controversial Tithebarn shopping development in Preston will get the go-ahead from ministers.

The formal announcement is expected next week but my sources tell me the £700m development has been approved.

Great news for Preston - England's newest city is desperate to cement its status as the third city of the North West by redeveloping a town centre in real need of improvement. With Manchester dominating the region and Liverpool upping its retail game with the £900m Liverpool One development in 2008, Preston can't afford to be left too far behind. The new development promises big name stores such as John Lewis.

Bad news though for towns like Blackburn and Blackpool. They fought against the Preston plan, fearing it could seriously damage the economic health of their own struggling centres.

Preston's civic society also opposed the plan, claiming the destruction of buildings such as the famous modernist bus station would be architectural vandalism on a huge scale.

But it seems that economic pragmatism has won the day. Preston always said they needed this investment to survive. It looks like they've got it.

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