Restaurant plans for Preston student block's unwanted retail space

A Preston student block's retail floor, which has never been used since it was built more than three-and-a-half years ago, could be divided up in a bid to attract tenants.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 3:45 pm

Owners of the empty street level space in The Tramshed on Friargate, which was opened in September 2017, have applied to the city council to split it into three units, with the idea of providing two food outlets and a shop.

Malnaz Properties from Blackburn, which bought the large retail area in October 2019, has asked for permission to turn one into a dessert parlour and another for hot food dining, with the third remaining as a shop.

In its application the company says attempts to lease out the space have proved fruitless since The Tramshed was built, with the ground floor space remaining boarded up.

The Tramshed retail area has been empty and boarded up since the building opened in 2017.

"The proposed application seeks to bring into use a retail unit which has been vacant since its construction more than three-and-a-half years ago," it says.

"The full plans application proposes to separate the retail unit into small lettable elements, thereby increasing the chances of bringing the scheme into use."

The plan is to use the largest of the three units as the dessert parlour, with customers eating mainly on the premises. Next door will be a hot food venue, again with meals being served in-house. So the owners have applied for a change of use from retail to food and drink.

The third unit will remain classified for retail in the hope a shop tenant can be attracted to lease it.

The Tramshed accommodation block has 315 bedrooms.

The Tramshed complex, which also fronts onto Corporation Street, was originally given planning permission in April 2015 as a four to seven storey complex of 315 bedrooms in 64 cluster flats.

At the time it opened in September 2017 it was purely for students. But in 2018 the council gave permission for it to house apprentices and key workers and, during holiday periods, it could be used to accommodate people attending conferences, training courses and exhibitions.

Despite the Tramshed development accommodating hundreds of tenants for the past three-and-a-half years, the owners failed to attract a tenant for the retail space which fronted onto Friargate. Now they are hoping that by splitting it into three they will have more success.

The owners are hoping to finally attract tenants by splitting it up.