Road closures and more to boost Preston city centre as shops prepare to reopen

Posted on - 14th June, 2020 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Business, City Centre, Politics, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News, What's On in Preston
An empty Fishergate in Preston during the coronavirus pandemic Pic: Tony Worrall
An empty Fishergate in Preston during the coronavirus pandemic Pic: Tony Worrall

Temporary road closures and changes to the layout of Preston’s city centre are to begin from Sunday (June 14) afternoon.

Reducing traffic in Fishergate, shutting off side streets from cars and suspending on-street parking are all part of the plan to try and create a nicer environment in the city and also give more space for shoppers to be socially distant to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

The move by Preston City Council, Lancashire County Council and Preston Business Improvement District comes as many shops in the city prepare to reopen from Monday (June 15).

Here’s details on all the road closures and what’s planned:

Lune Street, Winckley Street, Cannon Street and Fox Street are to be closed to vehicles where they join Fishergate with diversions in place. The county council say they are putting ‘advance warning signs’ on approaches to notify drivers.

Some of the on-street parking in St Wilfred Street and Charnley Street is to be suspended to give more room for vehicles due to the closure of the Fox Street and Fishergate junction.

Minor changes to bus stops in Fishergate are being made and will be updated with signs on the bus stops.

As reported on Blog Preston two pop-up cycle lanes are already in operation in Winckley Square and Fylde Road, and another one is operational in Penwortham Hill from the junction with Cop Lane to the junction with Liverpool Road.

One of the Preston cycle routes introduced during the coronavirus pandemic Pic: Tony Worrall
One of the Preston cycle routes introduced during the coronavirus pandemic Pic: Tony Worrall

Councillors are also due to hear further plans for boosting the city centre with funding through the Safely Reopening the High Street fund and is subject to cabinet approval on 24 June.

Read more: City centre set for weekly deeply clean as shops prepare to reopen

What business groups have to say

Preston BID’s Mark Whittle said: “The BID is proud to be leading the way in making preparations for the return of city centre retail. Our foremost priority is to help city centre businesses get back on their feet.

“Our measures include an increased programme of pavement cleaning and street furniture disinfecting, increasing the number of public hand sanitising banks, distributing tens of thousands of free face coverings to visitors, supporting retailers with their practical preparations and applying pavement and street signage in order to encourage social distancing.

“The programme introduced by the BID, funded by city centre businesses, ensures that that the city centre is a safe place to visit with suitable measures in place to encourage customer confidence.

“We also look forward to working with the City Council on a co-ordinated messaging campaign to ensure visitors can enjoy their time in the city centre safely.”

Read more: Shankly Preston ‘could open by the end of the year’

What the politicians have to say

Leader of Preston City Council, councillor Matthew Brown, said: “The success of the high street and city centre as a whole is of utmost importance to us, but so is the health of our residents – whether they are consumers, employees or business owners. We are working very hard to achieve a careful balance of supporting the local economy while maintaining the lowest possible risk to everyone.

“We are looking forward to welcoming visitors safely back into the city, but ask that everyone takes personal responsibility in protecting themselves and others by following Government guidance. There are new ways we can be courteous to others, such as limiting the spread of germs by not picking up things we are not going to buy, giving everyone space and keeping our hands as clean as possible.

“Everyone has a part to play and the Council is proud to serve our residents by doing everything we are able to make a visit to the city centre as safe and enjoyable as possible.”

Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport county councillor Keith Iddon said: “We’re working closely with Preston City Council to reopen the city centre as safely as possible, by creating more room for pedestrians to prevent the spread of the virus, and make it easier to cycle due to the continuing restrictions on public transport.

“Current advice is to avoid using public transport unless your journey is really necessary, so instead we’re asking people to walk and cycle if they can.

“The temporary road closures are needed to reduce the number of vehicles on Fishergate, and I would ask people to plan their journeys to try to avoid driving on Fishergate if they can to help others maintain social distancing.

“These temporary measures are part of our emergency response to help Lancashire control and recover from the coronavirus, and we will keep them under review.”

Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines

What do you think about the road closures? Will you be heading back into the city from Monday 15 June? Let us know your views in the comments below

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