Preston wins Transforming Cities cash

The Preston City Region is to receive £50,000 to develop a business case for transport improvements as it seeks to secure a share of £2.5bn Government funding.

Preston, Fylde and South Ribble’s local authorities make up the bid team, with Blackpool as a supporting partner. Along with a bid Bournemouth, Poole & Christchurch, this joins 10 previously selected bids across England selected for Transforming Cities Fund support.

Preston will look to develop plans to upgrade the South Fylde and East Lancashire rail lines, enabling the doubling of service frequencies; a parkway station at Cottam – important for the North West Preston urban extension; and interchanges for intra-urban busses, cycling and walking.

These interventions will focus on an existing north-south corridor within the Preston-South Ribble built-up area and a new east-west corridor from Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone to Lytham via the city centre and Warton Aviation Enterprise Zone

The TCF is intended to support city regions in developing better transport options. The bid document, authored by Lancashire County Council director of economic development Martin Kelly, outlined how 75% of commuter journeys in the area are currently taken by car, and how Preston’s rail network, historically focused on north-south routes, is limited by station access and service frequency.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Our great cities and their suburbs are home to world-leading businesses. The Transforming Cities Fund will help develop good bus, cycle and tram routes to transform their transport systems – making it easier for people to get around and get to work, school or the shops.

“We want to see more places like Preston benefit from better and more sustainable transport links to help the area flourish.”

More than £1bn has so far been allocated to six mayoral authorities including Liverpool and Greater Manchester, which bagged £160m towards the Beeline Cycle Network of 1,000m of interlinked bike and pedestrian lanes.

The Transforming Cities Fund was first announced at the 2017 Budget and closed for bids this summer.

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