Pickles has over ruled the planning inspector’s recommendation to reject the 1.5m sq ft Tithebarn development of new shops, offices and homes
Neighbouring councils Blackburn and Blackpool had vociferously fought the plan arguing it would threaten their trading future, but the secretary of state said the scheme would not adversely effect the towns.
The Tithebarn scheme is being developed by Lend Lease in partnership with Preston council and will include large-scale demolition and re-building work.
John Lewis and Marks and Spencer will be anchor tenants in two big new department stores. The plan also involves building around 100 smaller shops, a nine screen cinema, new bus station and 500 flats.
A bid by English Heritage to save the 1960s bus station failed earlier this year.
Preston City Council leader Ken Hudson said: “Now that we have planning permission, we can continue to work closely with our partners to decide what the next stages are.
“We all recognise that there is a lot of hard work ahead but getting planning permission is a huge boost for Tithebarn and a huge boost for Preston.”