It is believed that RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) is present in the roof panels of the Grand Hall and Charter Theatre within the Guild Hall.
Following national guidance and pending a thorough investigation by specialist structural engineers, both venues will remain closed and secured.
A spokesperson for Preston City Council said:
“We are taking a cautious and ‘safety first’ approach by securing the Grand Hall and Charter Theatre auditoria, until specialist consultant structural engineers can carry out a more detailed inspection. Unfortunately, we understand that this may take some time, as the experts required to carry out this very particular type of work are naturally prioritising school inspections. As a responsible Council, the safety of the public and our colleagues must be our number one priority.
“The venues themselves are not currently in use, but we have been working inside both on a range of safety and associated works. A small number of future events were planned for this year, and we are in discussion with the organisers about these.
“The remainder of the Guild Hall, including the ground floor trading units and Harris Library remain open for business.”
The closure follows the news that five other regional theatres, including The National Theatre, have all been forced to shut pending further investigations.
Please check the Guild Hall website for further updates.
RAAC, a lightweight ‘bubbly’ form of concrete was used widely in buildings between 1950 and the mid-1990s, usually in the form of panels on flat roofs, as well as pitched roofs, floors, and walls. The Guild Hall Preston was officially opened in 1973, 50 years ago. The Guild Hall has been closed for four years, having previously been managed by an outside company. It was only during recent works inside the building that the presence of this type of concrete came to light.