THE Brickworks was originally built on the outskirts of Preston by the canal for transport south to the town centre and north to Lancaster.

Brick production ceased in the 1960’s when the site was cleared and the clay quarry backfilled with demolition rubble. Since then, the site has lain derelict.

Zoned for business use and canalside leisure, a nature reserve was proposed to conserve the rich ecology which had flourished after the initial clearance but had then declined. With ever stricter controls on site remediation, however, it was not viable to develop for these uses.

When Cottam Hall Properties bought the site, Preston had become a city of which the old Brickworks was very much a part; no longer on the outskirts. It was a site with potential, not only for it’s occupiers but also for the community that had grown around it.

Background site

The site is located in the City, with excellent access to national road and rail systems, yet from the site boundary there is the tranquility of canalside walks leading to open countryside.

Surrounding communities of Cottam, Tanterton and Ingol lack a focal centre for shopping and socialising which could be provided by a redevelopment of the Brickworks. In turn, there are existing facilities which would complement a new development.

With its mixture of uses serving current and future communities, and provision for acces by foot, cycle and local transport, the development would be intrinsically sustainable.

The creation of a managed nature reserve will safeguard a richly diverse ecology while providing schools, the University and the community a view and understanding of natural life.

The scheme which was obtained for planning approval in 2012 was originally tested and strongly supported in a random survey of 900 households in the surrounding districts of Cottam, Ingol and Tanterton.

It also found favour with the City and County Councils, the then English Partnerships, and British Waterways. This was reflected in the Interim Planning Statement of the City Council and then in the Emerging Local Plan in 2014 as the District Centre for NW Preston. The District Centre was therefore the subject of a further planning submission in December 2014.

Care Home

It was with this background of a derelict site and its potential to do so much for the north west of Preston that the planning applications were submitted.

The Lady Elsie Finney care home has already been built to meet an urgent need of Lancashire County Council. The Nature Reserve has been established, and access to the site was finally secured from HCA and LCC in 2014. Outline permission has been granted for housing in the south of the site. Permission has been granted for a supermarket, and this has now been supplemented by the application for the District Centre