Consultation starts on the future of transport network

Lancashire County Council, county hall
Lancashire County Council, county hall

Lancashire County Council is inviting the public to have their say on a £275 million package of measures set to transform the transport network in South Ribble, Preston and Chorley over the next 15 years.

The Highways and Transport Master Plan for Central Lancashire was unveiled in December and contains the county council’s ideas for much needed transport infrastructure to unlock planned housing and new jobs in the area, and make sure predicted increases in traffic don’t cause gridlock on the roads.

These improvements are at the heart of the recently-reported City Deal bid centred on Preston and South Ribble, which would see cash and decision-making power handed to the area to provide a boost to the city and bring benefits across the county.

The public consultation began this week and will close on February 25.

Leaflets and questionnaires will be distributed and public exhibitions will be held across the three Central Lancashire districts.

The six-week consultation sets out proposals that would see significant cash earmarked from the public purse and developer contributions for major changes to highways, public transport and walking and cycling facilities.

Among the proposals are:

- More space to be given over to pedestrians and cyclists and to greening our public spaces in areas such as Seven Stars, Hough Lane and Towngate, Tardy Gate, Bamber Bridge, Penwortham, Lane Ends, Broughton, Ribbleton Lane and New Hall Lane.

- An investment focus on nine ‘public transport priority corridors’ that follow all the main routes into Preston city centre, from Moss Side, Hutton, Warton, North West Preston, Broughton, Longridge and Chorley, as well as the route through Euxton/Buckshaw Village between Leyland and Chorley.

- Several of these corridors could also see road space reallocated to public transport and the introduction of more bus-only lanes to improve reliability and speed up journeys.

- Improvements to rail stations at Leyland, Preston and Chorley to make them more attractive and expand capacity, and a new ‘parkway’ station to serve North West Preston would be pursued at Cottam.

- Capacity upgrades to accommodate more traffic along the A582 between Cuerden and the A59 at Penwortham.

- The completion of the Penwortham Bypass with a direct link between the A582 Broad Oak roundabout and A59 west of Penwortham.

- A new road linking the M55 near Bartle with the A583/584 near Clifton to support the development of new housing in North West Preston and the Enterprise Zone employment site at Warton, to the south of the River Ribble.

County Councillor Tim Ashton, cabinet member for highways and transport at LCC, said: “By 2026, we expect that Central Lancashire will see an extra 22,200 homes built, a large number of office-based jobs in service industries and 2,000 more jobs at strategic employment sites.”

He added: “Our preferred approach involves building and widening roads to support new development thereby meeting the area’s ambitions for economic growth.

“By creating extra road space, we would be able to make room for new development, make far more wide-reaching public transport improvements and manage the highway network more effectively.

“In those areas we target, we will also be able to make our streets and public spaces much more pleasant places to spend time in, and in turn prioritise and promote walking and cycling as the modes of choice.”

County Hall’s head of planning, Marcus Hudson, said: “Our calculations show that if we do not make any major improvements, by 2026 Central Lancashire’s transport network would no longer be able to cope with the extra demands placed on it by the expected increase in the number of people and levels of economic growth.”

Two of the five consultation events will take place in South Ribble.

The first is at Penworthan Community Centre, Kingsfold Drive, on Thursday, January 31, between 11am and 8pm.

The second is at the South Ribble Council Civic Centre offices in West Paddock, Leyland, on Tuesday, February 5, between 10am and 6pm.

- What do YOU think? Email your views to kay.taylor@lep.co.uk