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Giant car park designed as airport terminal receives Park Mark Award for safety on eve of its 50th anniversary

A ‘megastructure’ of a car park that was designed to look like a post-war airport terminal to reflect the luxury of air travel, has received the prestigious Park Mark Award for safety and the Disabled Parking Accreditation in recognition of high standards of accessibility.

The Awards for the car park, which is above the central bus station in Preston, follows a multi-million pound redevelopment by its owners – Lancashire County Council – and has come in time for this listed building to celebrate its 50th anniversary next year.

The redevelopment included repairs to the concrete, improved lighting, new security cameras and repairs and improvements to the access ramps.

A Park Mark is awarded to parking facilities that pass a rigorous risk assessment conducted by the Police and British Parking Association.

The assessments include quality management and maintenance of the car park as well as ensuring there are appropriate levels of surveillance, lighting, signage and cleanliness. These criteria are known to reduce the opportunity for crime and create a safer environment for motorists and vehicles.

Some schemes have achieved crime reductions of more than 80% compared to equivalent non-Park Mark facilities. Research of motorists has found that personal safely and location are high priorities when choosing where to park.

Park Mark car parks are re-assessed every year to ensure high standards are maintained.

Since Park Mark was established in 2004, more than 5,000 car parks across the UK have received the Park Mark award and become safer places.

The Police part of the assessment is carried out by Police Crime Prevention Initiatives, which trades as Secured by Design (SBD), the national police crime prevention initiative.

The Preston car park has also achieved the Disabled Parking Accreditation, which is owned by Disabled Motoring UK (DMUK) and managed by the British Parking Association. The DMUK is a campaigning charity for disabled drivers, passengers and Blue Badge holders, which lobbies government and businesses to improve parking facilities. The assessment criteria include clear information and instructions for the use of the building and level access between pedestrian entrances/exits and parking bays or lifts and ramps provided.

Preston is a town that has a long association with road transport with the country’s first motorway being the Preston-by-pass.

Built in 1969, the 170 metre long and 40 metre wide building brought together the town’s four bus stations onto a single site, and became, what was at that time, Europe’s largest bus station. It has a total of 40 bus stands on either side and a taxi rank.

Above the bus station sits the 1,100 space car park up to five-storeys high. It has a curved concrete front to highlight the building’s great length, sweeping car park ramps, and striking, light and dark waves of upturned curves along its side from one end to the other.

It opened in 1969 as a megastructure – a large scale civic commission – to create the sense of ‘the monumental’ within the ‘British town scene’. It was regarded as a good example of integrated traffic planning and has since received Grade II Listed Building status for its planning interest. It has remained little altered since then.

County Councillor Keith Iddon, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Lancashire County Council, said: “We are very proud to receive the Park Mark award. We know that some people chose not to use this car park in the past, but things are very different now.

“Our recent redevelopment work has made the car park levels more welcoming and is already encouraging more people to park there.

“We’ve carried out a lot of work on the bus station and the car park and this accreditation clearly shows that we’ve made changes that benefit people who use the car park.”

Mark Osmond, British Parking Association Area Manager, said: “I am delighted that Lancashire County Council has achieved Park Mark as well as the Disabled Parking Accreditation. These awards reflect the commitment and hard work by staff to ensure facilities are of a high standard and cater for all users.”

Graham Footer, Chief Executive for Disabled Motoring UK, said: “I am very pleased that Lancashire County Council has achieved the accreditation. This demonstrates the authority takes accessibility, enforcement and provision of accessible parking for disabled motorists seriously and I hope more will follow.”

Car park operators with the Park Mark award can use the signage featuring the distinctive Park Mark tick, so that drivers know exactly where to go for safe parking.

For your nearest Park Mark car parks visit: