Winckley Square Community Interest Company (WSCIC) is a not-for-profit organisation established by six professionals in 2011 to drive the revival of Preston’s historic Winckley Square.
The founding partners included John Chesworth (Harrison Drury), Mark Clarkson (Eckersley), David Gill (MHA Moore and Smalley), Mick Goode (Goode Architects), Richard McDowell (Napthens) and Simon Turner (Freshfield).
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 Prestonians and visitors alike. However, at the time they felt without action it was in danger of becoming a forgotten and dilapidated asset.
WSCIC’s goals are:
- To help transform Winckley Square into an award-winning scenic landmark, one of the best public spaces in the North.
- To create a thriving Northern residential, commercial, leisure and cultural city quarter.
- To enhance the values and attractiveness of neighbouring properties as a prosperous place to work, live and enjoy.
WSCIC’s role is:
- To represent all Winckley Square stakeholders (residents, commercial, leisure, retail, land owners, local authorities, historical and religious groups, visitors) enabling all voices to have their say in – and shape – the future of Winckley Square.
- To operate as an independent company but work in partnership with Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council to identify and implement realistic ideas while overcoming barriers to restoration.
- To promote investment, sustainable regeneration and culture within Winckley Square and the surrounding conservation district.
- To advise on funding streams and also act as an independent vehicle to attract funding.
Soon after its formation, WSCIC forged a formal working partnership with Preston Business Improvement District (BID), Lancashire County Council and Preston City Council. Following a period of public consultation, the community made it clear that it wanted a sympathetic restoration of Winckley Square.
WSCIC appointed Groundwork to support a funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund and a £1.2m grant was secured in 2015 to transform the gardens.
L-R: Mick Goode, Babs Murphy, John Chesworth, Tiffany Hunt, Ste Allan, John Collins, Peter Topping, Jennifer Mein, Simon Turner, Andrew Mather, John Swindells.
Groundwork developed designs, conversation plans and oversaw the restoration project which involved rich 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.
WSCIC’s current manifesto, created in 2017, is to seek further funding to improve public realm works outside of the gardens and neighbouring streets to further support its place making vision of creating a vibrant Winckley Quarter.
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.
John is the managing partner of regional law firm, Harrison Drury, which has two offices on Winckley Square. He is also a co-founder of WSCIC.
A co-founder of WSCIC, Mark is a partner at Winckley Square commercial property firm, Eckersley.
A co-founder of WSCIC and Chartered Architect, Mick is the director of DC & MG Associates Ltd.
County Councillor Michael Green
Cllr Michael Green joined the board in 2018 and is the Lancashire County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Environment and Planning.
Patricia is a resident on the Square. She is the Chair of the Friends of Winckley Square and a long established author in the field of education.
A co-founder of WSCIC, Richard is a partner at regional law firm, Napthens, which has its head office on Winckley Square.
Councillor Peter Moss
Cllr Peter Moss is the cabinet member for planning and regulation at Preston City Council.
Babs is the CEO of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and Preston Business Improvement District.
Simon is a co-owner and managing director of Winckley Square marketing services firm, Freshfield. He is also a co-founder of WSCIC.
Damian is a partner at UK accountancy firm, MHA Moore and Smalley, which has its head office on Winckley Square.
Peter is the archivist for the Preston Historical Society, archival advisor for the National Gas Archive (Warrington), Friend of Winckley Square, Chair of The Friends of Hurst Grange Park and ex trouble shooter for British Gas.