An ambitious plan to give Leyland its heart back is now on the drawing board for public approval

An ambitious project to give Leyland its heart back is now on the drawing board and ready for residents and businesses to have their say.

By Brian Ellis
Monday, 15th November 2021, 3:45 pm

The £25m Town Deal, which could see the creation of a market square, a shared space scheme for vehicles and pedestrians - similar to the one in Fishergate, Preston - and a new business and skills hub, has reached the design phase.

A public consultation will take place on November 25 where the design team will ask the public which of their ideas should be given priority.

“This is a landmark investment for the area," said South Ribble Council leader Coun Paul Foster.

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What the new Market Square could look like.

"I am so pleased that we are now able to gather the views of residents and businesses about what they feel our priorities should be when spending the money."

Leyland has been awarded up to £25m of government cash to carry out a radical regeneration of its town centre.

It has been described as "lacking a clear heart" and having "no distinct sense of purpose."

Planners are hoping to address that by revamping the existing market both inside and out, with a new market square to act as a focal point for people in the centre of the town with a separate new building, potentially with bars and restaurants on the ground floor to develop the night-time economy.

The new business hub which forms part of the plan for Leyland town centre.

There could also be new apartments to encourage town centre living. And plans could also include another new building for a Business Advisory, Skills and Enterprise (BASE) hub with a rooftop terrace on the site of the Iddons factory and next to the market car park.

That would include flexible meeting and events space along with a cafe which could be converted into a bar in the evening.

"About time" was how Coun Bill Evans, cabinet member for planning, summed up the proposals at a recent council meeting.

He said: “Something needed to be done. I’ve lived in Leyland all my life and I remember the good old days when we had Leyland Motors and all kinds of industry.

“There’s no night-time economy at the moment either, so we’re interested in [developing] that."

Jennifer Gadson, chair of the Leyland Town Deal Board - an independent group established to put together the Towns Fund bid - said that Leyland needed “an identity”.

“It was felt that the lack of a clear centre and no distinct sense of purpose meant that Leyland wasn’t fulfilling its potential," she said.

“Our vision was to create a new centre that would become a hub for residents to come in their spare time, that would attract workers to the area and become something that [the town] can be proud of."

The public consultation meeting will be held in the British Commercial Vehicle Museum between 5pm and 7pm.

It will form part of a series taking place to allow people to see the proposed designs, speak to the design team and share their views on which aspects should be prioritised as part of the investment.

The consultation events will be a mix of public drop-in sessions and specific sessions for invited businesses and interest groups.

Coun Foster, who is also a Town Deal Board member, said: “It is great to see the plans progressing to the design stage and see the ideas coming to life.

“I encourage everyone to come along to the events to have their say and get involved in developing a great future for Leyland town centre.”

The suggested refurbishment, upgrade and expansion of the existing market would be aimed at transforming its "presence and perception" in the town centre.

There would be an increase in stall space, including new stalls located outside to create a wider food and drink offering. The current service area would be relocated so that this external area connected to the new market square on the site of the existing market car park.

Architects, Wilson Mason and landscape and public realm designers, Lanpro will be on hand at the consultation events to present their ideas and answer questions.

Feedback will be in the form of a questionnaire that can be completed either at the events or online. The consultation will close on Friday 3 December.