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Preston high street recovering post-lockdown

Posted on - 20th July, 2020 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Flag Market, Food & Drink, Friargate, Health, Nightlife, Preston City Centre, Preston News
Getting back to some sort of normality in Fishergate Pic: Paul Melling

Preston’s high street is performing better than Manchester and Liverpool during post-lockdown recovery, according to a new report.

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The Centre for Cities ‘High Street Recovery Tracker’, compiled using anonymised mobile phone data, shows how high streets in the UK’s larger towns and cities are gradually returning to previous levels of activity.

Preston’s overall score on the recovery index is above average at 59 per cent, where Liverpool sits at 38 per cent and Manchester at 34 per cent. The national average is 45 per cent.

The report also shows that Preston’s high street is a destination of choice for people coming from outside of the city.

Pre-lockdown, more than 52 per cent of weekday visitors to the high street were from outside of Preston, with 44 per cent being from the city’s suburbs and just four per cent from the city centre itself, supporting the call for more good quality city centre housing to be made available.

The report shows that there has been a sharp decline in the number of people working in the city centre post-lockdown, a reduction of 79 per cent, which has a sizeable impact on footfall in the streets.

It is estimated that around 5,000 people who normally work in the city centre on a weekly basis are still home working, with many not scheduled to return until autumn at the earliest.

Social distancing measures in place at Next on Fishergate, Preston Pic: Tony Worrall
Social distancing measures in place at Next in Fishergate Pic: Tony Worrall

The weekend tracker shows a 71 per cent return of people visiting the city centre during the day on Saturdays and Sundays.

The economy index for the city’s nightlife has shown a return of 42 per cent of patrons in the city centre during the evenings on Fridays and Saturdays.

Read more: Fino Tapas to open in empty Tiggis building to allow for social distancing

Of those returning to sample Preston’s award-winning night-time economy, over 41 per cent are from outside of the city, with 45 per cent from the city’s suburbs and 14 per cent from the city centre.

Preston’s city centre has benefitted from a £125,000 investment to help open the high street safely.

Read more: Preston set to receive £125k to help with safe reopening of high streets

Preston Business Improvement District (Preston BID) has set up hand sanitiser stations and is cleaning the street furniture weekly as well as giving out free face masks to people in the city centre.

These safety measures along with other signage and the creation of cycle lanes are among plans to reopen the high street in the city.

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John Boydell, Chair of Preston BID said: “The report shows Preston is performing well in terms of its high street recovery, and the BID is proud to have played its part, but there is still a long way to go.

“We are about to enter phase two of the city’s recovery, supported by grant funding from central government, a fund which will be managed, in Preston, by the local authority.

“It will be a big boost to the local economy if we can continue on this positive trajectory whilst maintaining that the safety of those living in, working in, and visiting the city centre remains our top priority.”

Read moreSee the latest Preston news and headlines

How do you think the high street is recovering? Tell us in the comments below.

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