North, by North West: new conference centres for Preston and Bolton

A large, temporary 5,000-seater conference venue is to
be built in Preston’s Moor Park as part of the city’s
Guild celebrations next year.

Local companies BAE Systems and nuclear group
Westinghouse are said to have been in talks on using the arena, and the city’s
tourism managers are looking to bring in major
events.

Preston Guild only happens once a generation and the
2012 edition is the 23rd. The tradition dates back to the
12th Century. Regular Guilds began to be held every 20 years after
1542.

“We will be working on the more detailed plans over the
next few months and would be excited to welcome some
high profile events to the city in 2012 and beyond,” Festival director Stella
Hall told the local Lancashire Evening
Post
newspaper.

The Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board is attempting
to bring the national Enjoy England
for Excellence Awards.

Since the ‘What’s The G’ Guild 2012 campaign six months
ago, council chiefs have blamed
funding issues and the axing of the North West Development Agency for some loss of momentum with the project. The NWDA had been due to
plough £1.4m into the event.

Organisers recruited Preston celebrities Andrew Flintoff and Nick
Park, creator of Wallace and Gromit, to promote the 2012
celebration.

Director of Marketing at Lancashire and
Blackpool Tourist Board
LBTB,
Tony Openshaw, told CN: “Preston
Guild promises to be a fantastic year-long international event and gives us a
great opportunity to promote not just the city but the whole of our region to
meetings and event
organisers.”

Preston has also been named a European City of Sport for 2012 and
will host the 19th UK Corporate Games in 2012. 

Meanwhile, Bolton council has approved a plan to convert
the old
Bolton Corporation bus depot in Carlton
Street into a 1,500-capacity conference
and exhibition centre, with work expected to be finished by
April.

The scheme is to create 20 jobs initially and help
development of Bolton town centre’s
Merchants Quarter.

Mohammed
Jaberansari, the businessman behind the project, said he hoped to open the
facility by April. He told the local Bolton
News
: “We are going to create Bolton’s premier conference centre and the
interior design will blow people away.”

The site currently has three industrial units
known as Varsani House. Other city venues include the Bolton Arena and De Vere Whites Hotel, at
Bolton Wanderers FC stadium.

Bolton
Council’s planning committee was told the centre would be a small version of
Manchester Central. Project agent Frank Whittaker, said there was already a lot
of interest in people wanting to book events.  

Do you have
news of a new venue-build? Email: pcolston@mashmedia.net 

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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