In July there was an open meeting organised by Bikhu Patel to discuss proposed developments for Winckley Square. Over a hundred people attended and it was a splendid example of democracy in action. Personally I felt that at the end of an evening of heated debate the differences came down to whether a fountain and a shelter should be included in the design. The majority seemed to be against them.
But the whole evening got me thinking about what, if any, improvements could be made in the Broadgate area. I started off on the basis that they should be low key, sustainable and affordable but then veered off into a dreamlike state where the North West Development Agency gave BRAG £3,000,000 as well as giving it to Winckley Square.
But I’ll come to that later as there are a few things that I wouldn’t mind developing now. The first being that patch of land opposite the Ribbleside Inn which seems such a waste hidden away behind a not very attractive hedge. Don’t get me wrong – I like open spaces that hang around and don’t seem to do much but that space seems to attract just drunks and the entire pigeon population of central Lancashire.
I’d like to turn a couple of green areas into allotments that would help people as food and energy prices rise. That linear path that used to be the old railway would be one. Then there is the area on the left going up Fishergate Hill and the spaces around Fitzroy Street. People could sell the surplus to the Continental as the new owners want to source local produce.
I’d ban cars from parking on one side of Broadgate and make it a cycle lane.
I’d convert all the pubs that have closed down into sports and leisure centres for the kids to use.
I’d love the shop that used to be the bookies to re open as a greengrocers or Broadgate Cycles again.
And then for my, sorry our, three million pounds I’d build a walkway under Penwortham Bridge to link up with a paved and lighted path along the Ribble with a level crossing to get to the cinema.
If there was anything left over I’d build a small station at the Strand and open up the railway through the tunnel to Preston station and have a regular steam train service running along it.
And, of course, if we did get three million the BRAG Chair and Secretary would have to go on a fact finding mission to the Cayman Islands to investigate..err…well… facts.