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Preston 35 - A Regeneration Plan for Preston (2024 - 2035)

An Ariel view from the Harris Museum roof looking down on the Town Centre

Preston, Lancashire's centre for commerce, culture, and innovation. A growing and vibrant city, focused on delivering a sustainable, thriving and fair economy.

You can download a copy of the Preston 35 - A Regeneration Plan for Preston (2024 - 2035) (PDF) [1MB] .

Preston 35

A Regeneration Plan for Preston sets out the draft vision and priorities of Preston's Regeneration Board, a new and innovative collaboration between three anchor institutions:

  • Preston City Council
  • Lancashire County Council
  • University of Central Lancashire
  • Preston's private business sector represented by a leading networking group, the Preston Partnership.

Preston is a well-connected city, rich in opportunity. We want to ensure all residents and businesses benefit from the city's economic development and regeneration opportunities.

As the largest city in Lancashire, Preston has globally significant strengths and opportunities in aerospace, advanced manufacturing and engineering, health, cyber and data. As Lancashire continues its devolution journey, we recognise that a thriving Preston City Region is a prerequisite for a successful Lancashire economy.

Preston has been at the heart of a £1bn development and investment programme over the last decade. The partners published a City Investment Plan in 2020 alongside other strategies and activities, including an award-winning City Living Strategy.

This is already giving greater confidence and clarity to Government, developers, landowners, businesses and investors.

Over £40 million of Government Levelling Up Funds are now being invested across the city, complementing the significant investment being delivered as part of the University Masterplan, the Harris Quarter Towns Fund Programme, Stoneygate Urban Village Masterplan, Active Preston Levelling Up Programme, and Preston's UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Further development at Stoneygate, Station Quarter, Preston Docks and the Harris Quarter are key opportunity areas for the city, while the National Cyber Force decision to locate its headquarters six miles away at Samlesbury, presents a real opportunity for Preston to be at the centre of a thriving and collaborative regional cyber, digital and data innovation ecosystem.

The City Investment Plan (2020) has driven forward positive change and progress in the city alongside a strengthened collaboration and partnership working between the anchor institutions and the private sector. A lot has happened both globally and locally since 2020.

We have reconfirmed our commitment and shared vision through the establishment of the Regeneration Board and publication of our draft plan. Preston 35 highlights some of the future regeneration and development opportunities.

Preston 35 is an important step towards the development of an economic plan through which to focus the combined resources of a wide range of partners and deliver our priorities and vision.

We must remain flexible to respond to new and emerging opportunities and we know that we cannot deliver our priorities alone. We look forward to working together as a Board and with partners to accelerate Preston's regeneration up to and beyond 2032, the next Preston Guild Year.

Our City

As the largest city in Lancashire, Preston is the urban heart of a £35bn economy, one of the north's largest economies with the UK's highest concentration of aerospace production and nationally significant capabilities in nuclear fuel production and clean energy generation.

Preston is a vibrant city which celebrates diversity and its cultural traditions, playing a vital social and economic role and a focal point for arts, culture and leisure. With a long and fascinating history, we take pride in our industrial heritage and the pioneers who have made a significant impact on a world stage.

The city's recent step change in growth has been driven by the £434m Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal, providing an investment boost in transport infrastructure, delivering major new roads in the city to unlock new development opportunities and stimulate unprecedented housing and affordable housing growth in north west Preston.

City Facts

  • In 1179, the city (originally Priest town) founded Preston's Guild (an organisation of traders, craftsmen and merchants). This is one of the region's highest profile events today and is held every 20 years. This is one of the region's highest profile events.
  • The city grew rapidly through the 19th century as the textiles industry laid the foundations for advanced manufacturing and engineering. Preston is still one of the UK's leaders in this sector.
  • Rapid industrialisation and growth cemented the city's position as a major service centre with financial, legal and professional services.
  • From the mid- 20th Century, Preston became a city of growing diversity through immigration during the 1950s, 1960s, and 2000s as the EU expanded.
  • Preston continues to grow reinforcing its strengths as the principal commercial centre.
  • Population of 147,800 (ONS Census 2021)
  • 61% of Preston's population is aged under 44 (ONS Census 2021)
  • 65,000 working residents in 2023 (APS, ONS)
  • 73,600 Economically active October, 2022 - September, 2023 (APS,ONS)
  • 96,000 total jobs in 2022 (BRES, ONS)
  • Preston contributed £4.5 billion GVA to the UK economy in 2021 (GVA ONS)
  • 5,710 businesses (UKBC ONS)
  • 1,405 housing completions 2022/23, highest on record including 433 affordable homes
  • 7,105 City Deal new homes completed 2013-2023, of which 1,863 affordable homes
  • University to Central Lancashire home of 38,000 students from home and abroad

Key Sectors

Sectors driving our future growth include:

  • Advanced manufacturing and engineering sector
  • Financial and professional services sector
  • Cultural and creative economy
  • Cyber and digital
  • Logistics and distribution
  • Health and social care

Our Strengths and Opportunities

Ranked 'Best City for Quality of Life' The Times, Sunday Times, PwC, Centre for Cities (2020-2022)

'Top UK City 2023 to Raise a Family' Money Supermarket Group Research

The city is at the heart of an emerging new devolved Lancashire, with alignment between the objectives and priorities of Preston 35 and Lancashire 2050, 'Lancashire's blueprint for the future.'

Preston's strengths and opportunities include:

Economic prosperity

Preston's geographical location and excellent connectivity is a key asset to exploit in driving forward the city's economic prospects. The city is the business and economic hub of Lancashire with a growing resident and business population.

The new National Cyber Force HQ will bring £5 billion of Government investment and new high skilled, high quality jobs by 2030 into Lancashire, placing the city at the threshold of an unheralded opportunity to emerge as a sector-leading global influence in digital and cyber.

Inclusive growth

The Preston Regeneration Board is focused on driving a long-term, fair and sustainable socio-economic growth strategy for the city.

The City Council has been leading on efforts to build community wealth since 2012 and strives to harness the power of anchor institutions to ensure many more of our residents benefit from economic growth. Local stakeholders and communities are integral in shaping our local priorities and this is achieved through Community Wealth Building (CWB), often referred to as the 'Preston Model'.

Transport and infrastructure connectivity

Preston sits at the heart of Lancashire with unrivalled connectivity. Major motorway networks north-south, east and west link to Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Yorkshire and beyond. Preston Railway Station is the third busiest in the north west on the West Coast mainline with a direct regular service to London Euston in 2 hours 14 minutes.

Preston is a net importer of jobs and has the largest travel to work area in Lancashire. The travel to work area is Preston, South Ribble and Chorley, a total population of 376,900.

70% of people who live here, work here and it is home to around 14,495 businesses. The Travel to Work Area (TTWA) has a working age population (aged16-64) of 236,300.

Diverse Housing Offer

Preston has an expanding and diverse housing supply with a renewed focus on developing brownfield sites for city centre living. Stoneygate is a key housing regeneration area for the city, driven forward by the city's award-wining City Living Strategy.

New communities are being created through new family housing in north west Preston, supported by major new infrastructure. Preston has delivered its highest level of housing completions in 2022/23, with over 1,400 new homes completed, including over 400 affordable homes.

Culture and leisure

Preston Guild, dating back to 1179, embeds community, civic and culture into the city's DNA.

Events and festivals remain a major part of the cultural offer from some of the oldest Caribbean Carnivals and South Asian Melas in the UK, to the traditional Egg Rolling and more recently the Encounter Festival. Preston's vibrant culture sector includes the independent Birley Studios with nearly 30 early career and established artists, including Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid.

Preston is home to the University of Central Lancashire's award-winning fashion department and thousands of students studying arts and media courses, who strongly advocate that creativity matters. Major investment is taking place to expand the culture and leisure offer, anchored by the Harris Quarter regeneration programme, including the delivery of a redeveloped and reimagined Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library, Animate entertainment and leisure complex and Preston Youth Zone.

Health and wellbeing

Preston residents and businesses have access to amazing parks and open spaces, both in the City centre and wider city region. Levelling Up Fund investment in Active Preston will improve active travel opportunities and enhance parks and open spaces across the city, particularly in Council wards with significant health inequalities.

Education and skills

Preston is a centre of educational excellence. The University of Central Lancashire is one of the UK's largest universities with a student and staff community approaching 38,000.

The University's £200 million Masterplan includes the Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC), producing an increase of locally trained graduates per year in areas such as aerospace, mechanical and oil engineering, with new public realm and social spaces, including the Student Centre.

Preston is also home to outstanding schools and top performing colleges, including Preston College and a collaboration with Lancaster University at Cardinal Newman College to provide a centre of excellence for maths for 16-19-year-olds. Educate Preston brings together our higher and further education providers to provide a city centre 'one stop shop' to signpost our young people to their most appropriate education path.


Preston is committed to achieving equality for all, meeting the needs of the people who live and work in Preston. We celebrate and recognise the many differences across our city and in our communities.

Our Challenges

While our city is rich in opportunity, The Preston Regeneration Board remains focused on how we can do more to boost Preston's strengths, sector specialisms, and productivity to address the weaknesses and challenges Preston continues to face, including:

High Street Renewal

The city centre's retail and leisure offer is key to drawing in residents and visitors, supporting jobs and businesses.

We have a clear focus on diversifying, enhancing and renewing the retail, leisure and cultural offer of the city centre. Like many UK cities and towns, Preston has been impacted by challenging conditions over the decade. This includes a significant change in retail habits with the increase in online retail and reduced demand for floorspace, the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and lock-downs, plus the Cost of Living Crisis, which is constraining household and business expenditure.

The latest national data indicates that this challenge remains stark, with city centre retail vacancy rates increasing from 2020 (4.4%) to 8.4% in 2023. More needs to be done to continue to make our high streets relevant in order to reduce vacancy levels.

Upskilling and Productivity

The gap for average resident wages for Preston has improved since 2020, at £654 per week, higher than Lancashire (£643) and the North West average (£649).

Resident full time male works earn on average £671 per week, full time female workers an average of £555 a week, however both lower than the UK average (£725 and £628 respectively).

We need to attract new and support existing employers who have the ability to generate high value and skilled jobs, while also working with all of our partners to boost access to skills and training to maintain this improving trend and aim to reduce the gap with UK averages.

Improved Health Outcomes

Preston residents continue to experience poorer health outcomes. Analysis of life expectancy highlights this issue starkly. Life expectancy is 10.5 years lower for men and 8.7 years lower for women in the most deprived areas of Preston compared to the least deprived areas.

Our regeneration plans must to be aligned with a new and ground-breaking approach to community health and wellbeing to reduce this gap between our communities. Preston's new Community Health and Wellbeing Partnership will work collaboratively with partners to tackle the city's health outcomes.

Cultural Renaissance

In the city there are too few creative organisations of scale and this has limited Preston's ambition and ability to deliver. Access to quality creative spaces remains an issue, exacerbated by the closure of the Guild Hall and loss of professional theatre and concert space.

There is an over reliance on voluntary led organisations that puts at risk sustainable delivery. There is a need to introduce an entrepreneurial approach into Preston's cultural offer to generate a paying audience and financial sustainability into the wider programme. Cultural governance needs strengthening by embedding culture into existing strategic governance mechanisms to unlock significant investment opportunities and realise ambitious projects for change.

Tackling Deprivation

Preston continues to have many areas of high deprivation with 19% of Preston's Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in the top 10% most deprived LSOAs nationally.

A Positive Response to Climate Change

Preston City Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019 and is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 by working with its city partners, other local institutions and community groups.

Given the scale of the climate challenge, the City Council has established a People's Climate Jury. This provides an opportunity for a representative group of local people to have a 'voice' by taking part in informed discussions on climate change, and making recommendations to local leaders about how the city should act in response.

Preston 35 - Our Vision, Objectives and Priorities

In 2020, our City Investment Plan's vision and objectives were co-designed by partners. Preston has made clear progress since 2020, against the backdrop of a dynamic and challenging socio-economic climate. But the challenges are not going away.

Our refreshed vision, objectives and priorities are:


Preston, Lancashire's centre for commerce, culture, and innovation. A growing and vibrant city, focused on delivering a sustainable, thriving and fair economy.


  1. Maximise the contribution that Preston makes to support a successful Lancashire economy.
  2. Harness the role of Preston's business community to support local enterprise, attract new inward investment, and generate high quality new local job opportunities.
  3. Foster a resilient, inclusive and fair economy for the benefit of local people and businesses, prioritised by Preston City Council's own commitment to its Community Wealth Building agenda for the city.
  4. Recognise the University's anchor institution role in the city, supporting opportunities to transform lives through an outstanding education experience and real-world research and innovation.
  5. Develop Preston's strengths in established, growing and innovative sectors, including advanced manufacturing and engineering, cyber, creative and digital, health, and social care.
  6. Deliver high-quality market and affordable housing in a range of tenures and sizes, including social rented housing, alongside a targeted City Living Strategy to unlock brownfield sites and drive regeneration.
  7. Boost our cultural offer in the city, including Preston Guild 2032 and its sustainable legacy.
  8. Maximise the potential of Preston's distinctive assets, including our parks and open spaces, docks, heritage buildings, and the Guild Wheel.
  9. Ensure Preston's transport and digital infrastructure meets the needs of a growing city.
  10. Support measures to ensure our regeneration proposals impact positively on a carbon neutral Preston.
  11. Improve Preston's health and wellbeing to ensure our regeneration priorities contribute towards enhancing the health and wellbeing of our communities.
  12. Nurture and strengthen our high street to provide a dynamic and strong leisure, culture and retail offer.


  1. Strengthen Preston's cultural, leisure and retail provision
  2. Maximise Preston's opportunities for cyber and innovation triggered by the relocation of National Cyber Facility in the region
  3. Create a new commercial district at Preston Station Quarter
  4. Harness a new approach to community health and wellbeing
  5. Deliver Stoneygate and boost city centre living
  6. Achieve a step change in sustainable movement and accessibility.

Regeneration Propositions

Building on the success already on the ground we have identified six regeneration which can be accelerated through Regeneration Board oversight.

Directly responding to our vision, objectives and priorities these propositions will reinforce Preston's role as a major commercial, educational, and cultural centre and provide a sound footing to develop further transformational change.

To deliver our vision, the Preston Regeneration Board requires support from a wide range of partners. The Regeneration Board will work constructively and collaboratively with partners through other governance arrangements to ensure we maximise the opportunities to deliver positive change in Preston.

By 2035 we aim to deliver the following:

Preston Station East - Phase 1 

  • An early delivery priority of the Station Gateway Commercial Quarter
  • An opportunity to deliver a landmark commercial-led, mixed-use development scheme.
  • Unlock the economic growth potential of Preston, deliver placemaking benefits, retain and create business and jobs.
  • Grade A office space.

Harris Quarter - Phase 2

  • The Harris Quarter provides the opportunity to develop a thriving cultural, leisure and conference quarter.
  • A key strand in our placemaking ambitions and delivers the regeneration of buildings and public spaces.
  • A confident and sound footing - Phase 1 of the £200m Harris Quarter programme is well advanced with completion in 2026.
  • Phase 2 is anchored by the re-purposing and redevelopment of The Guild Hall, owned by the city council.

Stoneygate - Phase 2

  • An Urban Village Regeneration Area covering 25 hectares - one of the largest regeneration opportunities in Preston.
  • 655 new homes, including affordable homes in a highly sustainable location increasing the proportion of city living.
  • Delivers significant new city centre residential, alongside business, education and leisure uses.
  • Focus on sites where deliverability and scale can be achieved in the next few years. The St John's Gateway area (250 homes) and the former Odeon cinema Site on Church Street (250 homes).

Innovate Preston

  • Exploiting Preston's proximity to the National Cyber Facility headquarters at Samlesbury.
  • An opportunity to develop a hub for enterprise and entrepreneurship in Preston that connects the city, students, and businesses, providing a centre of gravity for ambitious businesses to locate and thrive.
  • Position Preston to be at the centre of an innovation eco-system.
  • Provision of a range of workspace accommodation for businesses in, or aligned to the National Cyber Facility supply chain.
  • Complements existing cyber, digital and health innovation, linking to research strengths, graduate opportunities and innovation.

Preston Community Health Hub

  • A new City Centre Community Health and Wellbeing Hub.
  • Provide an integrated 'one stop shop' of customer-facing health and wellbeing services as part of a wider drive to move the delivery of health services and interventions closer to the community, including potential re-purposing of high street properties, delivery in the leisure estate and community venues.
  • Respond to and maximise the opportunities presented by the proposed re-location of the Hospital and growing resident base.
  • A priority for the recently established Community Health and Wellbeing Partnership.
  • Delivery dependent upon partnership approach - NHS, city council, county council, Integrated Care Board, the Lancashire Teaching Hospital and Lancashire Care (NHSFT).

Access Preston

  • Cottam Parkway - a £36m new railway station proposed on the Blackpool to Preston line, adjacent to two existing strategic sites and within a proposed new strategic site, providing sustainable transport options to almost 10,000 new homes.
  • National Cyber Force facility- ensuring excellent accessibility and connectivity between the city centre and the new headquarters six miles to the east in Samlesbury.

Wider Projects in the Pipeline

  • Preston Station Quarter - future phases to include a Masterplan for the County Hill area and University Walk.
  • Potential Hospital
  • Future phases of Stoneygate
  • Preston Docks Regeneration
  • Third River Ribble Crossing

The Preston Regeneration Board is already working together to deliver regeneration and investment

Harris Quarter Towns Fund Programme

The Harris Quarter Towns Fund Programme, is a £200 million regeneration programme kickstarted by £20.9 million of Levelling Up Towns Fund investment.

Transforming Cities Fund - Transforming Friargate North and Ringway

A £14.7 million project, supported by the Transforming Cities Fund to regenerate the Friargate North and Ringway area of the city centre by boosting connectivity by bus, rail, cycling and walking.

City Deal

The Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal is a £434m funding programme supported by the councils, Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership and Homes England. It has transformed Central Lancashire through investment in major new infrastructure and unlocking land for new homes and communities in north west Preston, with a potential extension of the programme in the pipeline.

Stoneygate Masterplan and City Living

The Stoneygate Masterplan seeks to guide the development of a thriving residential offer in the city centre.

Active Preston - Transforming our Community Infrastructure

This £24 million Levelling Up initiative will support the city's growth through high impact, visible projects and creating a liveable, healthy, sustainably connected city.

Community Health and Wellbeing Partnership

The City Investment Plan identified the need for a new Community Health and Wellbeing Partnership.

This was established in Spring 2023 and involves the following key partners:

  • Preston City Council
  • Lancashire County Council
  • St Catherine's Hospice
  • A range of health providers and commissioners
  • University of Centre Lancashire
  • Gateway Housing
  • Voluntary sector representatives
  • GLL charitable social enterprise
  • Preston North End Community Enterprise.

Preston Station Quarter Regeneration Framework

The Station Quarter Regeneration Framework endorsed in 2022 by Lancashire County Council, Preston City Council and University of Central Lancashire sets out a vision for Preston Station Quarter as a 'key city hub' for Lancashire'.

University of Central Lancashire Masterplan

The £200 million transformational University of Central Lancashire Masterplan, completed in 2021, has created a unified, sustainable and welcoming campus enhancing the experience for all those visiting the university.

National Cyber Force (NCF) Headquarters

In 2021, the UK Government announced that the new National Cyber Force HQ will be located in Samlesbury, six miles from Preston.

The development brings £5b billion of government investment into the county by 2030 and provides Preston with an unheralded opportunity, as a member of the Lancashire Cyber Partnership, to become a leading centre in this globally important sector.


Thank you to all who have supported the launch of the Preston Regeneration Board and the production of this brochure for Preston 35.

The vision, objectives and priorities of Preston 35 align with Lancashire 2050, Preston City Council's Community Wealth Building Strategy 2.0, Lancashire Investment Prospectus and the University of Central Lancashire's Strategic Plan.

All enquiries

If you would like to find out more about any of our investment propositions and would like to help us to deliver our ambition to 2035 and beyond, we are open to all enquiries and would love to hear from you.