£3.4m plan boosts the economic heart of Preston

Posted on - 28th February, 2013 - 8:43pm | Author - | Posted in - Central Lancashire Development Plan, Preston Council, Preston News




Reported a couple of days ago by Lancashire County Council (LCC), 1st March will see £1.38m of European funding with £2m from Lancashire County Council helping to bring new business to Preston by improving key gateways to the city.

Following a successful funding bid, LCC has received £1.38m from the European Regional Development Fund towards the Fishergate Central Gateway project. We are told that the county council will contribute a further £2m to the project.

The aim is to regenerate entrances to the City of Preston and thereby boosting private sector investment by enabling commercial developments to come forward. An attractive city centre will appeal to many different users.

We are looking at Preston railway station up Fishergate to Lune Street, and Corporation Street from the junction with Ringway up to Fishergate and along Ringway to the Friargate crossing.

Its not the vision some want, the pedestrianision Fishergate, but to use a variety of measures to create areas that are less dominated by traffic and friendlier for pedestrians and reduce traffic flow, create a more attractive, less cluttered, “shared space”, with fewer barriers and better pedestrian links between key parts of the city centre.

Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “Preston is a very important part of the Lancashire economy. Creating jobs and bringing money into the city has a very positive impact on the rest of the county.

“We’re obviously delighted that we’ve been able to bring this ERDF money to Lancashire. This is the first stage of this project, which will develop a long-term strategy to deliver economic growth to Preston City Centre.”

“By improving the city centre, we believe that the Fishergate Central Gateway Project will help to bring forward potential commercial development sites. According to estimates, this could boost the Lancashire economy by more than £90m, which is why we are supporting the project with £2m from the county council’s own funds.”

Peter Rankin, leader of Preston City Council, said: “Improving Preston city centre as a place to do business and invest in is key to our development plans for Preston. Better access in and around the city centre will provide a real boost and we are delighted to be working with Lancashire County Council on this project. We are also working with the Business Improvement District and local businesses so that they know about the changes and how it will affect them.

“This is a very exciting time for Preston and is hopefully the start of further redevelopment in the city centre, encouraging new business into the city centre.”

Malcolm McVicar, Vice-Chancellor of UCLan, said: “We welcome the Fishergate Central Project. UCLan is a major regional university and plays a key role in the life of the city and yet, up to now, routes through Preston have not reflected this. This project is part of plans to improve the routes leading to our campus and pedestrian links with the rest of the city centre.”

Keith Mitchell, Centre Manger of Fishergate Shopping Centre and committee member of the Business Improvement District, said: “This is great news for Preston city centre and all of its businesses. The project will create a much more pleasant environment where people will want to spend time which can only be good news for the city centre.”

Sue Howarth, Virgin Trains group station manager, said: “”As a key regional rail hub we’re conscious that Preston Station is very much a gateway to the city and to Lancashire as a whole. We’ve recently announced plans for a facelift for the station, which will complement this wider project to improve Fishergate and Corporation Street.”

The Fishergate Central Gateway Project is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013.

What do you think about the Fishergate Central Gateway project?  Is this money well spent? Let us know in the comments below.

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