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Preston city centre businesses hit back at unhealthiest high street report

Posted on - 26th March, 2015 - 11:42am | Author - | Posted in - Business, News, Preston City Centre
Westerly view of the completed new look Fishergate with it's 'shared space' highway

Westerly view of the completed new look Fishergate with it’s ‘shared space’ highway

The body responsible for promoting Preston’s city centre has hit back with its own figures after a new study branded Preston as the unhealthiest high street in the UK.

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Preston’s Business Improvement District, which is funded by a levy on city centre retailers, said its annual survey of Preston shoppers did not match the Royal Society for Public Health’s report.

The BID surveys 1,000 people each year for their views on the city centre – including local residents and those who come into the city to shop.

Mark Whittle, manager of Preston BID, said they were seeing perceptions changing towards the city.

He said: “Unlike a report published recently, Preston’s general public survey is based solely on the city centre. Since it began in 2010, we have seen year by year major shift in public opinion.

“Whilst there is much work to be done, we can be confident that initiatives introduced by the Preston BID, general business community and Preston City Council are creating the right environment for a prosperous and vibrant city centre.”

Figures released ahead of the full survey’s publication on Monday 30 March say 85 per cent of those surveyed say Preston is their retail destination of choice.

It also states 80 per cent say restaurants and cafes are good or very good.

The controversial Fishergate changes also receive backing with 79 per cent saying the visual aspect of the city centre has significantly improved.

Deputy leader of Preston City Council John Swindells said there were “no surprises” in the Public Health’s report, and said the city council had been trying to restrict the number of payday lenders and betting shops which contributed to the poor rating for the city.

What do you think of the BID’s figures? Do you agree with how Preston’s high street has been portrayed? Let us know in the comments below

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