Lancashire County Council and Preston City Council have initiated an ambitious programme to restore quality and civility to the centre of Preston. Hamilton-Baillie Associates prepared the concept proposals, now nearing completion after detailed design by Planit-IE, the landscape architects based in Altringham.
The project has restored the connectivity between the magnificent railway station, Fishergate and its surrounding narrow streets (the historic centre), and the emerging central business district and university. Further work to a number of smaller connecting streets is underway.
The regenerative effects of the scheme are already evident in the sharp reduction in shop vacancies, and in the increased footfall in the town centre. Despite some understandable concerns about the mixing of low-speed traffic with pedestrians and cyclists in the busy town centre, overall safety has improved and delays for those on foot or in vehicles have reduced.
Phase One won the CIHT annual Clutter Reduction Award, and is cited by Historic England in their recommendations for the sensitive treatment of town centres.