Drivers facing £60 fines for breaking Preston’s shared space rules

ROOM FOR ALL?': Shared space in  Preston city centre
ROOM FOR ALL?': Shared space in Preston city centre
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Drivers face a £60 fine if they are caught on camera ignoring tough new rules in Preston’s controversial shared space system.

And others could be forced to make a near two-mile diversion when a small part of the city centre’s one-way system is altered in an attempt to ease chronic congestion.

New bus lanes will be introduced on Fishergate as traffic bosses get tough with motorists who clog up the premier shopping street and its feeder roads by flouting the regulations.

The experimental changes, which come into force on October 31, are to be trialled for up to six months - taking in the busy pre-Christmas period.

It is hoped they will bring an end to the bottlenecks which have blighted the Fishergate area since the £3.4m Central Gateway scheme was first introduced two years ago. “At the moment it becomes a bit of a plug,” said county council highway network manager Daniel Herbert. “We are hoping to take that plug away and things should move more freely.

“We know we are still going to have issues but not as bad.”

The enforcement camera will monitor a short section of Fishergate which is being used as a rat-run by drivers to avoid making a detour around County Hall to reach Ringway.

A traffic survey has shown that as many as one in four motorists are ignoring the “no right turn” signs at the top of Butler Street and taking the shortcut into Corporation Street.

Anyone snapped doing that from the end of the month will be slapped with a fine of £60 - the cash raised going towards the cost of the scheme.

In the opposite direction Fishergate will become a “bus and taxi only” road from 11am to 6pm (including Saturdays and Sundays) between Mount Street and Corporation Street to minimise traffic coming down towards the railway station.

Mount Street, which is currently one-way coming up from Garden Street to Fishergate, will be reversed to allow traffic to leave the main street and divert down through Avenham. Garden Street, which is two-way, will then become one-way between Mount Street and Winckley Square.

Traffic attempting to get down Fishergate in the direction of Penwortham, will now have to divert down Mount Street, through Avenham and then use Stanley Street and Ringway, adding up to three kilometres on their journey.

“The indications are we will see an improvement in the movement of traffic,” said Daniel Herbert. “It will reduce the volume of traffic.

“We recognise that there are times when we do have issues and those are what we are trying to address. For the majority of the time it works well and traffic moves through quite freely.

“The message we want to get across is that we are trying to work with drivers and businesses in the city centre to make things easier. Please work with us.”