GL Hearn has been appointed to help draw up a master plan for a new central business district in Preston.

The planning and development consultancy will help prepare a strategy and master plan framework to create a new viable office district for Preston that integrates with the existing city centre and the Tithebarn development.

It will test the feasibility of development of the area in a report that will be delivered in November this year. The report’s main suggestions will be used in any subsequent selection of a preferred developer.

Malcolm McVicar, chair of Preston Vision Board and vice chancellor of the University of Central Lancashire, said: ‘This is a hugely important piece of work for Preston and the Vision Board. We want to take forward the longstanding aspiration to improve the quantity and quality of the city centre's office offer and raise the profile of Preston as a centre for business and in doing so to bring real economic and employment benefits to the people of Preston.’

The project is supported by Preston City Council. Funding for the development of the Central Business District is being provided by the North West Development Agency.

Bailey Deakin and Hamilton will also provide commercial advice. Outerspace is drawing up the master plan and Colin Buchanan will advise on transportation and highway matters.