Boost on cards for Preston's Friargate

Friargate in Preston
Friargate in Preston
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Preston’s Friargate is to get help from industry experts to breathe new life into the city centre.

It is one of 14 areas across the country named as part of a pilot scheme to give high streets a much needed boost.

Today’s announcement by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick comes after a host of Lancashire towns were named among 101 set to received up to £25m each over the coming year.

While the latest pledge does not include any details of funding for Friargate, the government has promised “face-to-face support, access to cutting-edge research, new online training, and local footfall data to give businesses that vital edge and transform local town centres”.

Mr Jenrick said: “Having announced the first 101 high streets that can benefit from up to £25m each in the summer, I am announcing support from our new High Streets Task Force for a further 20 places, and I am delighted to say that Friargate will be one of them .

“The Task Force will provide the tools they need to get the best advice possible and a dashboard of key local data.”

Preston Council leader Matthew Brown said he was “delighted” the bid for Friargate, developed with UCLan, had been included in the pilot.

He added: “The city council has prioritised investment in the city centre for a number of years and we are committed to making Preston the best place for entertainment, retail, leisure and for eating out. Friargate is a great location with some excellent creative, local independent businesses.

“Our vision includes the transformation of the public realm and to work with business to ensure this important link between the civic city centre and the University’s new public square will be an outstanding place for everyone to enjoy.”

Chorley, Morecambe, Kirkham and Fleetwood are all among the 101 towns set to receive up to £25m to revitalise their town centres, as is Blackpool. Details of exact funding awards have yet to be made.

The High Streets Task Force will give high streets and town centres advice, training and information to adapt and thrive, piloting a range of products and services in 20 places before rolling out across the country next year. The first 14 of the 20 areas were announced today.