Special report: Wheels in motion for 10-year improvement scheme across South Ribble

South Ribble Council's cabinet member for planning, Coun Cliff Hughes, at the site of the proposed Central Park in Lostock Hall
South Ribble Council's cabinet member for planning, Coun Cliff Hughes, at the site of the proposed Central Park in Lostock Hall
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A masterplan for developing the Moss Side Test Track and plans for new ‘public transport corridors’ in Leyland should all be complete by this time next year.

The recently-published draft plan for the South Ribble, Preston and Lancashire City Deal gives timescales for some of the major roadworks and housing and employment developments set to take place over the next 10 years.

A total of £20m has been set aside for road infrastructure works for South Ribble’s major housing developments, with around £2m being designated to each of Leyland’s main housing sites, the Moss Side Test Track and land between Heatherleigh and Moss Lane in Farington Moss.

On top of that, more than £52m has been earmarked for the A582 South Ribble Western Distributor/B2523 Flensburg Way dualling works, which is also set to become more cyclist-friendly.

Work on the first phase of the project will begin on Tuesday, May 27, with the A582 at its junction with Chain House Lane being widened to provide more lanes for traffic.

Toucan crossings will also be introduced to allow cyclists to cross alongside pedestrians. This stage of the works will last for around 26 weeks, although the entire scheme is only set to be finished in around 2018/19.

The leader of South Ribble Council has hailed the start date as an important milestone in the City Deal’s progress.

Coun Margaret Smith said: “The beginning of this work is a significant step. Any short-term disruption to road users will be far outweighed by the longer term benefits to our communities.

“Not only will our residents reap the rewards of shorter journey times, this and other infrastructure projects included in the City Deal will pave the way for investment in our town centres, parks and open spaces, as well as other improved facilities for our residents.”

This particular scheme is also part of Lancashire County Council’s Highways and Transport Masterplan, but funding from the City Deal has meant that the project has come forward earlier than expected.

Under the City Deal, more than £12m will also be used for public transport corridors to help connect Leyland to Cuerden, Lostock Hall, Penwortham and Preston city centre, spread over the next 10 years, and almost £6m has been banked for ‘education infrastructure’ in South Ribble’s transport programme, set to be spent between 2016 and 2019.

Leyland’s public transport corridor and local centre improvements, aimed at creating new road schemes along a number of existing road corridors and through district and local centres to improve provision for pedestrians, cyclists and buses, will be complete by 2019/20.

Community provision will benefit from a £4.5m boost from this year to 2024.

County Coun John Fillis, LCC’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The City Deal and further transport improvements outlined in our transport masterplan are vital to trigger the creation of thousands of new jobs and thousands of new homes over the next decade.”

South Ribble Council will draw up a masterplan of how the Moss Side Test Track should be developed by this time next year.

The first pot of money will be spent on the road infrastructure needed to support future housing and employment there by the end of this financial year.

The rest of the cash will be spent in 2016/17, when the first houses are expected to be built. The development should be complete by 2017/18.

In Farington Moss, where a masterplan has already been signed off, the first lot of money is set to be spent this financial year, and houses will start to be built by 2015/16.

The roadworks, including the building of a new spine road through the centre of the housing land, needs to be underway by the end of 2015/16 to provide for the bulk of development on the site, according to the City Deal report.

The money will be spent up by 2016/17, when the spine road will open.

Plans on how to improve South Ribble’s leisure facilities and a detailed plan about the council’s proposed Central Park in Lostock Hall should also be done by this time next year.