Businesses call for steps to tackle traffic chaos in Preston
Temporary measures were introduced in December, following gridlock in the city centre, and traders are now calling for long-term solutions.
Marshals with “stop/go” signs were brought in to direct traffic around Christmas time, in a move implemented through a partnership with the Business Improvement District (BID), city centre retail stakeholders, Preston Council and Lancashire County Council.
Andrew Stringer, chairman of BID’s City Retail Forum and manager of St George’s Shopping Centre said: ‘The city centre is an attractive and modern shopping environment which is experiencing higher volumes of traffic than in previous years.
“In order to ensure Preston remains a choice destination at all times throughout the year, we need to make sure customers can enter and exit the city centre with minimum delays.”
Beverley Wilkes, manager of Debenhams and part of the City Retail Forum said: “Customers are our priority.
“It is vital that the customer experience is enjoyable and problem free.
“The city centre is attractive, safe and provides the perfect offering to shoppers and visitors alike.
“However, as a matter of priority it is essential to rectify these traffic issues and provide a long-term solution.
“We are happy to be working alongside BID and the city’s key retailers in calling for improvement measures to be implemented.”
The city’s business community was represented at a County Hall meeting, where suggestions were made by Lancashire County Council to improve traffic measures.
Keith Mitchell of the Fishergate Shopping Centre said: “We welcome entering into dialogue with the County Council and hope that through this partnership we can deliver a positive result to this ever increasing problem.”
County Coun John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The multi-million improvement work along Fishergate has attracted people into the city centre by improving the look of the main shopping area.
“There were traffic congestion issues around Fishergate in the run-up to Christmas, but these were improved thanks to the short-term changes that we put in place.
“Congestion issues affect the city centre shopping area every year around Christmas time, which is typical for most vibrant shopping areas.
“We are talking with various businesses and organisations to look at changes and initiatives to reduce traffic congestion in the future and improve the experience for people shopping in Preston.”