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Preston City Centre Plan: Council strategy aims to tackle Preston’s empty shops problem

Posted on - 31st October, 2014 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - News, Politics, Preston Bus Station, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Redevelopment
empty shops

An increasing number of empty shop fronts have given a sad look to many of the main shopping areas in the city centre

A new plan for Preston’s City Centre regeneration is promising to create 6,000 jobs over the next 15 years.

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Preston City Council has published its final version of its City Centre Plan, which will replace the failed Tithebarn development.

The new plan will guide new development across the city centre, seeking out private investment and promote the city centre to investors.

Councillor John Swindells, cabinet member for planning and regulation said: “Planning positively for the future of the city centre is crucial. Elements of the City Centre Plan ensure the council’s aspirations, and those of local residents, are met in future developments.

“Now the Preston and Lancashire City Deal is in place and work is underway, the City Centre Plan is the next step for creating growth in the area and bringing new investment to the region. This Plan is extremely important for the future of the city centre, and gives local people information on the development of where they work, live, study and spend their leisure time.”

A statement within the city centre plan outlines what the city council want the city centre to be like by 2026:

– A confident and competitive city, centrally located within Lancashire famed for its creativity and entrepreneurial flair, driving a flourishing globally
connected economy
– Preston to be distinctive and stand out from the crowd as a supporter of business through strong civic leadership working collaboratively with the private sector
– Is to create and establish a positive image for Preston reflecting the dynamism of the city and the Central Lancashire sub region

Reports show Preston has net employment immigration, so more people come into the city to work than go out of it

Reports show Preston has net employment immigration, so more people come into the city to work than go out of it

To do this the biggest challenge is the number of empty shops in the city, with nearly a quarter currently sitting empty.

Preston has seen its retail ranking tumble from 29th in the UK in 2009 to 60th it still sits fourth in the North West as a shopping destination.

The strategy divides the city centre up into five areas:

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. A plan which is due to have architects appointed soon, but has drawn scorn from market traders who would be turfed out of the Indoor Market.

Up to £8.3 million is due to be spent on the Bus Station and car park

The Bus Station is to undergo radical changes in the coming years

Preston Bus Station proposals were announced on Tuesday, with Lancashire County Council promising £23 million of refurbishment and creating a Preston Youth Zone.

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. This area of the city has not seen much new development, save for Wetherspoons converting the former TSB building on Church Street.

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. A planning application for Queen’s Street has moved forward as a legal wrangle over land ownership finally ended.

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. A heritage lottery bid is in for more than £1 million to do up the Square.

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.

The city centre strategy is due to be formally adopted in Spring 2015 if approved by the Secretary of State.

Prestonians are asked to give their comments on the proposed city centre plan by Friday 5 December.

A full version of the city centre plan can be found on the council website along with how to give your comments on the proposals.

 

It will form a large part of our quizzing of council leader Peter Rankin in our Leader Live debate, join us live from 7.30pm on Monday 3 November.

What do you think of the proposal for the city centre? Let us know in the comments below

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