UCLan Masterplan: Businesses celebrate as Adelphi Street reopens after more than 18 months of closure
A street in Preston was finally reopened on Friday by the council after more than 18 months of closure as part of the UCLan masterplan.
It was among other temporary closures on major roads put in place whilst the huge development of the UCLan Masterplan continued.
The new two-way layout on Fylde Road and the redesigned one-way system on Adelphi Street opened on Friday, September 17 and the University section of Corporation Street is scheduled to reopen this Friday.
Working in partnership with Lancashire County Council and contract partner Balfour Beatty, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has now confirmed the final timetable for the reopening of highways connected with the development of its new £60 million Student Centre and University Square.
Local businesses faced difficulties and saw a huge drop in profits after the closures were introduced, including Three Monkey's Cafe on Adelphi Street.
And the Secret Garden Flowershop, a popular florist in the centre of Preston, moved from their premises on Adelphi Street before the Coronavirus pademic, in March 2020 due to the impact the road closure was having on business.
Ifran Mehmood, manager of the Three Monkeys Cafe was celebrating the road reopening yesterday after the business lost more than half of its custom due to the closure.
He said: "The closure was brought in before Covid and then with the difficulties of the pandemic it has been really hard. I am really happy the road has opened up again and am excited to drive the business forward.
"We lost more than 50 per cent of our custom when these closures were put in place. We used to have plenty of staff working with us, as many as 10 or 11, but now we only have three because we could not afford to keep them.
"We used to have lots of customers in the evenings who would park their cars outside, but they haven't been able to. Lots of people didn't know we were still open as sometimes they closed the footpath too and it was hard for people to find us.
"Over the past year we have been told multiple times that it would be reopened but it kept being delayed. This time when we were told it would finally open, I didn't believe it at first.
"Unfortunately, I think it will take time to bring the customers back to us. This last year has been really hard and people still won't know that the road has reopened.
"We are really depending on the students supporting us but I am remaining pretty positive."
And the Adelphi pub, which was recently closed for a month for a full refurbishment, has also reopened today and is excited about the new developments.
Emily Savage, Area Manager for the Adelphi said: "The redevelopment of Adelphi Street will be fantastic for this area, it has opened it up and created that Al Fresco feel that we know customers have come to expect and love.
"We cannot wait to make the most of this area and work with UCLan to further support their events and feed into this buzz - it really was a great space during the graduation ceremonies, and was brilliant to see so many enjoying it."
UCLan’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Baldwin said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce this final schedule which signals the full reopening of all highways connected with the development of our new Student Centre and University Square.
"I would like to thank our project partners at Balfour Beatty who have turned our highways vision for the area into reality as well as colleagues at Lancashire County Council who supported our plans from the very start.
County Councillor Charlie Edwards, cabinet member for highways and transport at Lancashire County Council added: "The way the area around the new Student Centre has been so completely transformed is extremely impressive and a testament to how closely our highways team and Balfour Beatty have worked together with UCLan to achieve their original vision.
"This has been a rare opportunity to design and construct buildings and public space together from scratch, and the result is that they fit seamlessly together and will work really well for everyone who studies, works in and visits the Adelphi Quarter.
"Prioritising the needs of pedestrians and cyclists has made this area much nicer to visit, and we'll be looking to continue this theme with the improvements planned for Friargate and Ringway to create a sustainable transport corridor linking the University and the city centre.”
“I would also like to thank the public for their patience and co-operation which has now resulted in a fantastic new gateway to the University and to the city which we can enjoy for many years to come.”
The reopening of major city centre roads was hailed as 'positive news' by Mark Whittle, the manager of the Preston Business Improvement District (BID).
He said: “It’s very positive news that Adelphi Street is re-opening after a considerable period of closure.
"There’s no doubt that the UCLan Masterplan project will contribute significantly to the city centre and is a welcome investment; with any construction project of this scale, the works period can be challenging, particularly for those businesses who rely on passing footfall and vehicular access to maintain their operations.
"We look forward to seeing footfall increase in that area, especially with the return of students on campus, and hope that the businesses affected by the works can enjoy renewed custom as a result of the re-opening and a more pleasant trading environment.”
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