Preston boom sparks need for transport tweaks
Prospects of improving Preston’s transport infrastructure are picking up with extra money being allocated towards proving a case for access to a share of £2.5bn from the Government.
The Preston City Region is to receive £50,000 from the Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) that will help construct a bid to win money that will improve transport in the area.
Preston, Fylde and South Ribble’s councils, together with support from Blackpool, want help from the TCF that will upgrade road, rail and other modes following similar instances involving several other areas in England.
Rail links in need of an upgrade
Around three-quarters of all commuter journeys in the area are by car, and local rail routes are predominantly only north-south, while access to Preston’s busy station needs improving in face of greater numbers of passengers using it.
The city is on an upswing, having recently been named as ‘Britain’s most improved city’ in a study by Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Unemployment in Preston recently fell to 3.1%, and its relative proximity to Liverpool and Manchester have seen it become an attractive option for those willing to commute to those cities.
Buying and renting both good options
The area is attractive to savvy investors, and Totally Money recently found that rental yields in Preston were 6.89%, while the average asking price was £147,000. But with success and interest in the region comes issues in moving people around, leading to this move for proving that extra transport investment is needed.
Discover more about two developments in Preston – Station Terrace and The Sorting Office
The areas specifically under the microscope are upgrading rail lines in South Fylde and East Lancashire, a new parkway station at Cottam and better options for buses, bikes and walking. Ten other cities in England have been shortlisted for the TCF money, announced in the 2017 Budget.
Preston can now also apply for a share of £90 million, which is being allocated to support the creation of Future Mobility Zones. These will trial new innovative transport technologies, services, digital payments and smart ticketing.
The possibility of bringing trams back to the streets of Preston for the first time since 1935 recently moved a step closer when Snowball Alternative Finance were appointed to advise on “funding strategy, business plans and financial models”.