Transformation of Preston city centre taking shape as partners stop by for site visit
Major partners of a £14.7m scheme to transform Preston city centre were welcomed on site this week to see how work is progressing.
The Transforming Friargate North and Ringway scheme is being delivered by Lancashire County Council, in partnership with Preston City Council and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), as part of its successful Transforming Cities Fund bid.
The scheme will improve connections between parts of the city centre for a better leisure and shopping experience, improve facilities for sustainable travel and make the area more attractive.
Work on the project started in mid-November 2021 on Corporation Steet, and is on course to be completed by spring 2023. The current phase of works is aiming to bring about the pedestrianisation of Friargate, and will see the installation of high-quality paving, trees, benches, and cycleways.
This week, representatives from the three major partners were given a tour by Lancashire County Council's engineers on the project. They included Cllr Aidy Riggott, Cllr Rob Bailey and Phil Durnell from the county council; Cllr David Borrow from Preston City Council and Liz Gatheral from UCLan.
Partners were shown various elements of the scheme, including the introduction of pedestrian crossing facilities on Fleet Street and at Lawson Steet/Marshalls house; construction of new cycle lanes at the Corporation Street junction and at Market Street through to North Road.
They were shown new excavation for underground tree pits on Friargate, ready for planting and tree lights. These pits will also act as an attenuation tank to feed the trees and reduce the volume of water hitting the mains connection, which will allow for a reduction in surface water during storms.
The group were also guided around the Corporation Street junction with Ringway.
County Councillor Aidy Riggott, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Growth at Lancashire County Council, said: "It's really exciting to see the transformation of Friargate North and Ringway taking shape.
"This scheme will reconnect the city centre with increased footfall for businesses between the university and the Harris Quarter, as well as vastly improved access for cyclists and pedestrians.
"It will also make Preston city centre a much more attractive destination, bringing it up to the standards of other major cities, driving growth and prosperity right across the city."
County Councillor Rob Bailey, lead member for Highways and Active Travel at Lancashire County Council, said: "This major scheme fundamentally changes the way we travel into the Preston city centre, making it easier for more people to walk, cycle or catch the bus.
"More active travel will make the roads quieter, safer and more attractive for people navigating the city, and contribute towards the important goal of achieving a net zero carbon economy.
"We cannot achieve all of this without creating some disruption, and we are making every effort to keep this to a minimum until the works are completed. Thank you once again for your continued patience while we carry out these important works."
Cllr David Borrow, Cabinet Member for Planning and Regulation at Preston City Council, said: “The tour around Friargate and North Ringway was very inspiring and brought this improvement scheme to life.
“Preston is a growing and vibrant city and this scheme will certainly be a major part of the city’s vision. I look forward to its completion next year.”
Liz Gatheral, Director of Estates and Capital Projects at UCLan, said: “The University has established an attractive gateway to the city through the new University Square and Student Centre as part of the £200 million Masterplan.
“We continue to work hard with our partners at Lancashire County Council and Preston City Council to build on this success and deliver a vision that will benefit the people who live, work and study in Preston.”
The works around Friargate and Ringway are being carried out in sections, with access for pedestrians and for deliveries to the businesses being maintained. Clearly marked pedestrian routes are helping to guide people through the area while the works are ongoing. A dedicated business liaison officer is also working with businesses to ensure any disruption to their business is minimised.
Lancashire County Council has produced plans to help show people how to move into and through Preston once the Transforming Friargate North and Ringway scheme is in place on their website at www.lancashire.gov.uk/fnr
Notes to editors
Names of people on main image:
From left to right, Liz Gatheral, Director of Estates and Capital Projects, UCLan; Sharon McGuinness, Project Manager, Strategic Development, Lancashire County Council; Chris Blackburn, Assistant Director, Head of City Growth and Regeneration, Preston City Council; County Councillor Rob Bailey, lead member for Highways and Active Travel at Lancashire County Council; Phil Durnell, Director of Highways and Transport, Lancashire County Council; County Councillor Aidy Riggott, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Growth at Lancashire County Council; Mark Dixon, Highways Operations Manager, Highways and Transport, Lancashire County Council and Cllr David Borrow, Cabinet Member for Planning and Regulation at Preston City Council
A range of schemes are planned that will transform Preston over the coming years.
In March 2020 Lancashire County Council (LCC) and our partners were awarded £40.4m by the Department for Transport (DfT), which was granted under the Transforming Cities Fund (TCF).
For more information visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/transformingcities
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