Square comes full circle as FWP delivers luxury living

A Georgian square in the heart of Preston, developed as an exclusive residential area for the gentry more than 200 years ago, is once again becoming the city’s most prestigious address.

Winckley Square is undergoing its latest transformation, with a number of its buildings being returned to residential use after decades at the heart of Preston’s business district.

Offices overlooking the square’s highly-acclaimed gardens, restored in a £1.2million lottery funded project, are being converted back into luxury homes as Preston’s city living drive gathers pace.

Tens of millions of pounds are being invested in the area, close to the city centre.

Preston-based architecture, design and masterplanning practice Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP), which has its offices off Winckley Square, is involved in a number of these transformational projects.

Working with local developer The Walker & Williams Group, FWP has overseen the renovation of a stunning Grade-II listed property on the square which is now home to 15 high-quality apartments with uninterrupted views of the gardens.

A £5.94m GDV project, The One Winckley Square development by Walker&Williams is now complete with the majority of properties already sold.

Work is now about to begin on another Walker& Williams-led development overseen by FWP, the conversion of another Grade-II listed Georgian property on Winckley Street, which adjoins the square.

The building, which was once the offices of a nearby college, has stood empty for a number of years. Once completed the £2.78m GDV project will create nine residential apartments.

The properties will be retained and rented out to the young working professionals of Preston.

However, the area’s transformation doesn’t just include the creation of residential properties. FWP’s team has converted a former solicitors’ office into an upmarket boutique aparthotel in another Walker & Williams project.

The Winckley Square Hotel is a £2.8m development with 14 individually themed bespoke apartments all with boutique interior finishes. The hotel is also home to 263, a fine dining restaurant that has received two AA Rosettes.

Brent Clayton, partner at FWP, said: “The transformation of this historic part of Preston is seeing some stunning buildings being renovated and returned to their original residential use, breathing new life into the square.

“Our team works closely with The Walker and Williams Group to deliver designs that are sensitive and sympathetic to the area and these very special, listed properties.

“It’s important to retain the character of Winckley Square, which is a conservation area, and that sits at the heart of all our work.

“As a Preston-based firm, with our head offices just a stones’ throw from Winckley Square, we’re conscious of its history and what it means to the people of the city.

“Walker and Williams prides itself on quality and we look to deliver stylish modern living spaces, utilising every part of the property through good design.

“We’ve built up a good relationship with the client and we understand their vision and ethos. It is about creating a real sense of place.”

The Walker & Williams Group is a family business created by Max and Laura Walker-Williams and it has invested heavily in Preston city centre as part of its growth plans.

Operations director of Walker&Williams Max said: “We have now finished the renovation works at The One Winckley Square and all but two of the apartments have sold. We have really raised the bar and we believe this is the most desirable address in the city.

“The apartments have sold at or above full asking price which is thanks in no small part to the clever and seamless design by FWP.

“We’ve been very lucky to have a great mix of investors and owner occupiers with the split around 30/70 respectively.”

He added: “Our latest project in the area is 13 Winckley Street, which is is a stunning four storey Georgian property that has sadly stood empty for some time.

“We acquired the site and with the help of FWP secured planning permission for nine one-bedroom residential apartments.

“Work will be starting shortly, once completed the apartments will be retained and rented out to the young working professionals of Preston.

“Once again FWP have played a crucial role in the success of this project, from getting the planning permission to utilising every part of the property through good design.

“We are working on several exciting new projects with FWP and I look forward to working with them long into the future.”

Winckley Square was the brainchild of the Preston lawyer William Cross who purchased Town End Field from the Winckley estate in 1796. He built the first house on the square in 1799.

Described as one of the finest examples of a Georgian square in the North West of England, it was developed as an exclusive residential area and became home to professional gentlemen and their families and wealthy manufacturers.

It was also home to a number of schools and later transformed into the city’s business district, with solicitors, accountants and other professional services firms making it their base, converting its homes into office accommodation.

FWP, which has offices in Preston, Manchester and London, has a wealth of experience in regeneration and restoration projects as well as residential and hotel work.

For more information on FWP’s wide portfolio of projects please visit www.fwpgroup.co.uk