The people of Preston

Freshfield plays key role in helping regenerate Preston’s Winckley Square Gardens


The people of Preston


Property and Regeneration

How we helped:

  • Company formation
  • Vision setting
  • Company secretarial
  • Lobbying
  • Public consultation
  • Brand logo and identity
  • Digital development
  • PR and communications management

When a historic city Georgian square was facing irrevocable decline, Freshfield’s Simon Turner and five client partners took matters into their own hands.

That was the situation facing Preston’s Winckley Square Gardens when John Chesworth (Harrison Drury), Mark Clarkson (Eckersley), David Gill (MHA Moore and Smalley), Mick Goode (Croft Goode Architects), Richard McDowell (Napthens) and Simon joined forces to create the Winckley Square Community Interest Company (WSCIC) in 2011.

The co-founders created WSCIC because they passionately felt that Winckley Square and the surrounding district had the potential to be a rich and dynamic visual, cultural and intellectual outdoor experience for the community, Prestonians and visitors alike.

The ambition of the WSCIC was:

  • To help transform Winckley Square into an award-winning scenic landmark, one of the best public spaces in the North
  • To create a place the community could be proud of
  • To create a thriving Northern residential, commercial, leisure and cultural city quarter

Soon after its formation, the WSCIC worked on creating an influential board of directors that included leaders from the Preston Business Improvement District (BID), Lancashire County Council, Preston City Council, UCLan and Preston Historical Society.

WSCIC appointed Groundwork to lead a funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Having worked closely with the public and historians, a vision for a sympathetic yet transformational regeneration of Winckley Square Gardens was created, and a grant of £1.2m was secured in 2015 to transform the gardens.

Groundwork developed designs, conversation plans and oversaw the restoration project which involved significant contribution from a number of prominent local historians. The project was delivered by Barton Grange Landscapes and the gardens reopened in November 2016, bringing much joy to the people of Preston.

As part of the £1.2m funding, a new Friends of Winckley Square group was launched and under the leadership of its Chair, Patricia Harrison, it oversees a programme of activities and events that have drawn in visitors from across the region.

In 2018, Winckley Square gained a Green Flag Award. The Green Flag Award scheme recognises and rewards well managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of recreational outdoor spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.

In addition to helping form the WSCIC and acting as a board member, Simon Turner and the Freshfield team helped create the brand identity for WSCIC and managed the PR and communications office on a pro-bono basis.