Masterplan proposals for Liverpool Road and neighbourhood centres in Middleforth and Kingsfoldwill go on display for shop holders and 'stakeholders' in Penwortham Arts Centre on June 28, and for residents on June 30.
Both sessions run from 6pm to 9pm and will include a formal presentation of initial designs followed by a question and answer session.
Details of the proposals are still under wraps, but the Post reported last August that designer Wayne Hemmingway had been tasked with giving Penwortham a £2m facelift - and turning the main shopping area into a “green oasis”.
Residents have already been asked their thoughts on halving the width of Liverpool Road from 12 to six metres - and using the resultant freed-up space to provide more room for pedestrians, a segregated cycle lane and dedicated spaces for retailers outside their premises. It would also allow for the planting of trees along the street and the installation of more planters and “pocket gardens”.
Changes in shopping habits
Morecambe-born Wayne Hemmingway believes it is a chance to seize upon changes in shopping habits.
Last year he told the Post: “There is a real opportunity for smaller places like Penwortham to take advantage of the public moving more towards supporting independent [retailers].
“The reason why the BHS’s and the Debenham’s have been closing and will continue to do so, is not just about the internet at all. The main reason is a societal shift where people are starting to support independent culture - especially the younger generation.
“Covid has made people want to stay closer to home, but also enjoy getting out in their local street. It has brought more of an awareness of loving your local places, but we were already on a route to dining outside and being more convivial."
Where is the money coming from?
Led by South Ribble Borough Council, the process will mark the start of a long-promised project to redesign key parts of the town after the opening of the Penwortham bypass, John Horrocks Way, back in December 2019.
Cash was set aside from the £17.5m bypass - financed by the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal - for enhancements elsewhere in the town.
What South Ribble Council say
Councillor James Flannery said: "The proposed plans for Liverpool Road in Penwortham are incredibly exciting and we're keen to have as much input as possible from residents.
"Already we have held consultations for the other areas of Penwortham; Middleforth, Kingsfold and Charnock and the feedback to date has been very positive from all residents.
"The vision for Liverpool Road is to create a vibrant, safe and successful centre for those who live, work and visit the area. A place that celebrates its history but also looks to the future; delivering a high-quality public realm which is attractive, sustainable, and flexible for all.
"Those who attend the consultation will expect to see a breakdown of plans for a flexible community space, garden and amenity spaces, foot and cycle pathways and public spill-out space.”
For those not available to make the consultation sessions, a new website with the plans will be available to view from July 1: www.penworthamfutures.co.uk