Plans revealed for town centre square

Rev David Coaker of Leyland United Reformed Church

Rev David Coaker of Leyland United Reformed Church

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Ambitions plans for a new town square in the heart of Leyland have now been unveiled.

Members of the United Reformed Church, on Hough Lane, want to open the church grounds on to the high street to create a focal meeting place in the centre of Leyland.

If the proposals go ahead, it’s hoped the community space could also be used for social events, and as a way of attracting more visitors to the town.

The idea was established by church-goers a while ago, but the plans have now been drawn up and put forward as part of Leyland’s exciting application to retail expert Mary Portas.

Members of the community, along with business leaders and South Ribble Council, have put together a bid to give Leyland a chance of becoming one of the shopping guru’s12 Portas Pilot towns, and securing funding from the government.

The Town Team also wants to see a proper centre square created, so have brought the church’s ideas to the forefront of the Portas bid.

Reverend of the United Reformed Church, David Coaker, said: “It’s really great timing that the Town Team wanted to create a square near Hough Lane, because the plans have already been drawn up by us.

“We have a vision to break down the barrier between the church and the rest of the community.

“We want to extend the paved area and create some seating to help bring people together.”

The plans, which haven’t been formally submitted to the council yet, involve taking down some of the wall which currently separates the church’s land and the footpaths on Hough Lane and Quinn Street.

Rev Coaker added: “I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve, because it would really benefit Leyland as a whole.

“It will give Hough Lane a focal point and will make the town centre a place where people can spend time and relax, and meet friends, instead of just nipping in to do shopping or banking.”

He added that the land at the back of the church is already heavily-used for things like monthly cake stalls, and said these events can be brought onto the main street too, especially on market days.

“We want to be able to connect to the market,” he said. “We want the new paving to be the same as the surface outside the market, and to make the whole area more pedestrian-friendly.

“It will just help to bring all of the community together in the long-term.”

Coun Phil Smith, South Ribble Council cabinet member responsible for regeneration, leisure and healthy communities, said: “We believe Hough Lane would really benefit from having a town square.

“It’s still early days in terms of any firm proposals but the idea of a town square is being discussed as part of a third phase of regeneration work in Hough Lane. We believe a town square could provide a real boost to Leyland and help encourage people to prolong their stay in the town.”