Highways chiefs have admitted there needs to be changes to the Fishergate road system to ease Preston’s city centre congestion.Advertisement
Business leaders have released a statement expressing their frustration that peak-time and holiday queues, with traffic returning on the Bank Holiday weekend to leave some shoppers trapped for hours in the St George’s Shopping Centre car park.
Chairman of the Preston Business Improvement District John Boydell said: “We have been strongly lobbying the local authority with responsibility for the highways, on behalf city centre businesses.
“BID represents approximately 800 businesses within Preston city centre, many of which have suffered due to the issues related to congestion.
“Since November 2015 we have been in dialogue with the local authority (Lancashire County Council), calling for remedial measures to be introduced with the minimum of delay.
“Unfortunately, this has been an unnecessarily protracted process and one that has been frustrating for business and members of the public supporting the city centre.
“We are absolutely committed to seeing improvement measures introduced in the very short term and are continuing to ask Lancashire County Council to recognise that Preston city centre has an issue with congestion.
“Local businesses are plainly feeling the pressure. Businesses aren’t just buildings they are made up of real people and real jobs, and Lancashire council must ensure that a workable solution is implemented soon.”
In response to the statement from BID, the county council’s highways department says it is looking at making the turn from Butler Street, coming up from the railway station, a left turn only.
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Highway network manager Daniel Herbert said: “A lot of work has been taking place to look into this situation and resolve these issues as swiftly as we can.
“The county council has been in discussions with representatives from the St Georges and Fishergate shopping centres, Virgin Trains, Preston BID and other companies, about measures to reduce delays around Fishergate and improve overall journey times.
“Traffic counts have been taking place around the main shopping areas and detailed traffic modelling has been taking place to look at how some of these issues could be resolved.
“We are currently putting plans together to permanently stop traffic turning right from Butler Street onto Fishergate. The move aims to help the flow of traffic along Fishergate as a whole, especially reducing congestion next to the railway station and Fishergate Shopping Centre, which was a significant problem in the run up to Christmas. The temporary order helped the situation and a permanent solution is now being planned, along with changes being considered for other parts of the city centre.”
What do you think of the proposal? Do you drive and park in the city centre? Let us know in the comments below