Home plan for orphanage site

9 Oct 2019 11:36
Published by: Kian French

A VIBRANT new future has been unveiled for one of Preston's landmark buildings after more than a decade of uncertainty over its fate.

The historic St Joseph's Orphanage on Theatre Street will be transformed into new homes and gardens if the plan gets the go-ahead.

The heart of the proposed new development, unveiled by Czero Developments, will be St Joseph's Square, where the orphanage's restored chapel and tower will be framed by ten townhouses.

The chapel, along with the tower and spire, will be converted into apartments in the scheme, which has been drawn up by Manchester-based Buttress Architects, who are also involved in the Stoneygate masterplan in the centre of the city.

The view of the chapel from Mount Street will also be opened up for the first time since the hospital wing was built in the 1930s.

The scheme also includes apartments for the over-55s. By combining family housing, retirement apartments, penthouses, and apartments for rent, Czero says its aim is to create "a vibrant and mixed community."

The orphanage has stood empty for many years and there has been growing concern over its state with vandals continually targeting it. In 2016 it was included in a list of the top 10 UK endangered buildings.

Some of the buildings on the site will have to be demolished and Simon Linford, director of Birmingham-based Czero, says there are challenges.

He said: "The difficulty here is the condition of the buildings and the density of the site. We have had to go back to square one and work out what can be saved that is still meaningful.

"At the same time, we do not want to over develop the site will tall buildings and lots of apartments. The architects have designed to a scale that respects the historic building, opening up new views of this much-loved piece of Preston's heritage."

Czero and Buttress both specialise in the development of historic buildings and sites. They were brought in by the city council to try and find a solution for the orphanage site. Their plans will be considered by city planners.

Lead architect Stephen Anderson, Director at Buttress, said: "We wanted to develop a scheme that is forward looking while making reference to and celebrating the character of the site.

"As a result, we have created a site layout that puts the Chapel and tower at the heart of the development.

"New openings and public spaces have also been created that will frame and, for the first time in over a century, provide views of these important heritage assts."

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