Preston’s iconic Piper nightclub as decision due on apartment tower block

Planners have recommended that an 11-storey building should be approved on the site in Tithebarn Street – the latest tower block to be added to the sprouting city skyline.

The scheme will go before the planning committee next week with councillors expected to give it their backing.

The Tithebarn Gateway tower will provide 124 apartments to add to the hundreds being created in the centre of Preston under the City Living initiative launched in 2017.

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The Piper has been closed for the past 14 years.

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The site, opposite the five-storey bus station, is surrounded by a cluster of high-rise buildings including the new 12-storey Bishopgate Gardens development, 11-storey Palatine House, nine-storey Holiday Inn and two office blocks – the Guild Tower with16 floors and the Unicentre with.

The 16-storey Bhailok Tower apartment block is currently under construction in nearby Pole Street. There are plans for a 7-16 storey apartment complex in Avenham Street with almost 300 flats.

And a scheme for the biggest of them all – the 30-storey Lofthaus Tower on the other side of Ringway – was withdrawn recently after concerns it would be too high. It is not clear yet whether revised plans will be submitted.

How the Tithebarn Gateway apartment block could look (Image: NW Architects).

“Sitting directly in the middle of these buildings it is therefore considered appropriate for this site to be an 11-storey development,” says a planning report.

“The redevelopment of this under-utilised site will create much-needed high-quality residential accommodation in the heart of the city centre.”

It adds that the proposed development will “provide a new gateway to Preston city centre.”

The Piper club was one of Preston’s best-known nightspots in the sixties and seventies.

Police outside the Club Arena (former Piper) after a gun was discharged in 2008.

As its popularity waned in the 1980s it became Barristers and then Lord Byron’s where drinkers loved its atmosphere despite what one regular described as “the sticky carpets, slippery dancefloor and leaking toilets.”

It was famous in its day for, amongst other things, the stars it attracted. It was where Cannon and Ball first performed and Giles Brandreth was once the warm-up act for controversial comedian Bernard Manning.

The building has been closed for the past 14 years after police shut it down following the discharge of a firearm which blew a large hole in the ceiling.

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