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New city centre strategy in call to arms for new stores as one in four Preston shops stand empty

Posted on - 25th October, 2013 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Business, News, Politics, Preston City Centre, Redevelopment
The city centre holds the key to Preston's economic future according to the council report

The city centre holds the key to Preston’s economic future according to the council report

A manifesto for how to revitalise Preston City Centre has been published.

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The 69-page dossier replaces the previous Tithebarn proposal for redevelopment of the city centre.

Preston City Council has published its preferred-options after a consultation on how the city centre can be improved.

Its proposal come against the stark back-drop of nearly one in four shops currently standing empty in the city centre.

The city centre plan also states the lack of high-quality office space is driving businesses away from the city centre, along with a lack of quality housing leaves Preston’s central area at risk of becoming a ghost-town.

Five key areas would make up the city centre under the council’s plans, with each of them having different priorities for how it will grow.

On the northern edge of the city, the Corporation Street and Friargate corridors would be mainly given over to the university and developers would be encouraged to bring more high-quality office buildings to the two streets – and new student accommodation would be backed.

The City Centre North area, which includes the markets and the Bus Station, would be an ideal location for a new cinema – according to the council.

Stoneygate, what the council classes as Church Street and the surrounding streets, would see new shops, restaurants and cafes encouraged – along with some office space.

A new supermarket could be on the cards along London Road for what is classed as the Horrocks Quarter, but the council remains unconvinced about what this area of the city centre could be.

Winckley Square would continue to be restored, although there is still a question mark over whether it should be pushed as a place to live or a place to work.

The map below gives an overview of the rough boundaries of these five areas of the city centre and how it would be carved up.

Councillor John Swindells, cabinet member for planning and regulation said: “Planning positively for the future of the city centre is crucial. We must look at elements of the City Centre Plan from all angles to ensure the council’s aspirations, and those of local residents, are met in future developments.

“Securing the Preston and Lancashire City Deal was the first step in creating growth in the area and bringing new investment to the region. This latest consultation on the future of the city centre is extremely important and gives local people the chance to have their say on the development of where they work, live, study and spend their leisure time.”

The council is inviting comments on its proposed plans before it officially publishes it in Spring 204, it then goes to the planning inspectorate for approval before being officially adopted in January 2015.

The full city centre plan can be found on the council website, we will have more on the detail in the plan over the coming days.

What do you think about the plan? How should the city centre develop? Let us know in the comments below

Image credit to shabbagaz

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