Fishergate bus lane temporarily suspended after St Joseph’s Orphanage fire

Posted on - 5th May, 2023 - 11:49am | Author - | Posted in - Politics, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Roads, Transport
The signs for the bus lane have been crossed out temporarily Pic: Mohammed Vaid/LDRS

Fishergate bus lane has been suspended after one of the roads that drivers have to use to avoid it was damaged during efforts to tackle the latest fire to hit the former St. Joseph’s Orphanage.


The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) understands that a sewer running beneath Mount Street has potentially been disturbed by the weight and positioning of the fire engines involved in bringing the blaze under control. Pictures now show signs of subsidence in the road’s surface.

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The narrow thoroughfare will be closed until at least next week while highway workers carry out repairs and water company United Utilities assesses the condition of the asset.

The subsidence in Mount Street Pic: Mohammed Vaid/LDRS

A longer-term closure may then be needed – either immediately or at a later date – in order to rectify any damage found to have been done to the sewer.

Mount Street marks the start of the bus-only restriction – officially known as a “bus gate” – and is the furthest point that most vehicles can travel along Fishergate between 11am and 6pm each day.


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With the option of turning left down Mount Street temporarily removed, highways chiefs are allowing motorists to continue straight ahead through a camera-controlled area that would normally earn them a £70 penalty charge notice.

It had been hoped that the initial repairs to the road’s surface could be completed by Friday evening, allowing the side street in Preston city centre to reopen in time for the weekend.

However, Peter Bell, Lancashire County Council’s regulation and enforcement manager, told the LDRS that “the dynamic nature of the situation on Mount street after the fire” meant that the road would remain shut for several more days.

He added: “The level of damage to the sewer is not fully known and until United Utilities can assess the situation it will remain safer to keep the road closed.

“Diversion signs will be put in place and the bus lane will remain suspended for the duration of the closure…so vehicles have a route [via which] they can leave the area legally.

“There appears to be an issue with a sewer that has been caused by the abnormal weight distribution of the emergency vehicles tending to the fire,” Mr Bell explained.

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Motorists who want to get to the southern section of Mount Street will be directed down Chapel Street instead – while others, heading Penwortham-bound, can at least briefly delight in being able to carry on down Fishergate instead of taking the usual circuitous route out of the city.

The LDRS understands that the bus lane cameras were turned off as soon as it emerged that Mount Street would be shut on Tuesday morning, but any fines accidentally issued after that time will be refunded.

Smoke plume from the fire at the former orphanage Pic: The Docklands Boater

Six fire engines and two aerial ladder platforms were called to the ex-orphanage building at around 6pm on Bank Holiday Monday. The blaze is not being treated as suspicious – unlike an incident almost a year earlier which resulted in parts of the building having to be demolished because they were deemed unsafe.

In the 12 months since that fire, work has been continuing to renovate the remains of the 150-year-old building as part of plans to create flats and houses on the site.

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