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Safely reopening Preston's city centre

Fishergate Street view

Street view of Fishergate with people in the high street

12 June 2020

Preston City Council is working with key partners such as the Business Improvement District and Lancashire County Council to safely and successfully reopen Preston city centre, as restrictions are lifted and non-essential shops are able to re-open their doors to customers from 15 June.

A number of temporary changes to traffic in the city centre are being made to help people maintain social distancing, and prioritise walking and cycling due to continued restrictions on public transport.

These focus on closures to many side streets at their junction with Fishergate to create more room for pedestrians, along with pop-up cycle lanes to make cycling easier on some of the main routes into the city.

Consideration is also being given, and plans prepared for a range of practical solutions, aids and messages for consumers and retailers for the immediate and longer term.

In the initial few weeks this will include a heightened cleaning regime, safety messages, support for businesses and a range of other practical actions including increased planting to improve people's experience of visiting the centre.

The Environmental Health team has created an advice page for employers and employees on re-opening and guidance on how to ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. 

Subject to a decision by Preston City Council's Cabinet on 24 June 2020, this will potentially be supported by European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) made available through central Government to Preston City Council.

Councillor Matthew Brown, Leader of Preston City Council 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."

Preston BID Manager, 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 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."

A number of temporary changes to traffic priorities are due to be put in place on Sunday afternoon to help pedestrians maintain social distancing by reducing the number of vehicles on Fishergate while maintaining access for businesses and buses.

Lune Street, Winckley Street, Cannon Street and Fox Street will be closed to vehicles where they join Fishergate with diversions in place, and advance warning signs on approaches to notify drivers before they reach the closures.

Anyone travelling by car across Preston during business opening hours is encouraged to avoid using Fishergate as through-route and instead use alternative routes such as Ringway.

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

Some minor changes to bus stops on Fishergate will be signed at the relevant stops. Pop-up cycle lanes are already in place on Winckley Square and part of Fylde Road, with another being introduced today (Friday) on Penwortham Hill, from its Junction with Cop Lane to its junction with the segregated cycle lane on Liverpool Road. Pop-up cycleways are temporary cycling routes on existing roads, created by adding bollards, cones, or water barriers to separate cyclists from other traffic.

County Councillor Keith Iddon, Lancashire County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, 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."

Background information

The "Safely Reopening the High Street" funding is due to be considered by Preston City Council Cabinet on 24 June 2020.

European Regional Development Fund

The project has been allocated £125,813 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. 

The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. 

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