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Latest stage of "Square Routes" project gets under way in March (and the horseshoe will be back!)

John Freeman

£1 million of investment is set to pave the way towards reviving the heart of Lancaster city centre with improvement works beginning in early March 2014.

As part of the Lancaster Square Routes Project, with European Regional Development funding, Lancaster City Council and Lancashire County Council are working with partners to reinvigorate Market Square and surrounding streets to strengthen the city centre’s position as a quality destination for visitors, residents and traders.>

Back in place: the famous
Horseshoe, currently in storage
Photo: Han FleetWorks starting in early March 2014 will see over £1 million of investment, including new street surfaces, seating and lighting for the length of Cheapside, Horseshoe Corner (and the return of the famous horseshoe to Horseshoe Corner), Penny Street and now also the long-promised new surfacing for the length of Market Street.

Market Square will gain new surfaces, seating and a new centrepiece, plus improved signs and way-finding information to improve the experiences of residents and visitors.

These works are being led by the city council in close partnership with the County Council and are co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007-2013 and both councils.

During the works the Charter Market will continue but in alternative locations as necessary for the works to proceed. Once the works are completed the city council will introduce a new better long term layout for the Charter Market.

Councillor Janice Hanson, Lancaster City Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for Economic Regeneration and Planning, said: “Market Square has always been at the centre of Lancaster’s activities and the focal point for civic and ceremonial activities and trade.

“Unfortunately over recent years it has become tired and uninviting and does not portray the image that you would expect from such an important historic city. This investment will both improve the appearance of the city and encourage more activity into the city centre during the day and through into the evening. In turn this will boost the local economy, increase income and profit for local business and lead to more jobs for local people.”

Updated at last: Penny Street's infamous
patchwork of tarmac and paving should
soon be a thing of the pastComplementary to the works will be new experimental traffic regulations from 3rd February to better manage traffic within the pedestrian zone, benefiting all pedestrians and traders. This Experimental Traffic Regulation Order will:
  • Change the period when goods vehicles cannot enter the zone to 10am - 5pm to fit with the main shopping hours.
  • Remove the permit system by which some drivers can access the zone by vehicle for either loading or parking including access for disabled parking.
  • Introduce a new dispensation system by which the zone can be accessed by vehicles for certain purposes including for essential works or events and by market traders (time limited).
To compensate for the reduction in spaces for disabled drivers, four additional spaces have been created on the City Council managed St Nicholas Arcades car park. In addition, disabled drivers can use any council car park for free, and additional spaces are also being looked at for the Moor Mills 1 car park (off Nelson Street).

The improvements should bring many benefits and help make the city centre a much more attractive place to spend time in, to work in, to trade in and to invest in.

Councillor John Fillis, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Lancashire County Council, said: "Creating places that people want to visit, and spend time and money in, is vital to our key urban centres and to the wider economic wellbeing of the county. This investment will help to revive the centre of Lancaster and ensure it offers a high quality experience which continues to appeal to local shoppers and visitors alike.

"Many businesses and people use the area in different ways which sometimes places competing demands on the way the area is used by pedestrians and vehicle traffic. The experimental order will allow us to monitor how the changes to traffic management work in practice and make adjustments if necessary to improve the way they work. We'll work closely with the city council, businesses and local people throughout to achieve the best result for Lancaster."

Jerry North, Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce Director and Lancaster Business Improvement District Steering Group member, said: "Lancaster's businesses welcome this joint initiative to bring significant improvements to not only the fabric of the City Centre spaces but to the traffic controls necessary to both enhance the visitor experience and provide a comfortable and attractive environment for all City Centre users."

The ETRO will initially be in place for 18 months and will be monitored throughout this period to examine its effectiveness.

• For more information on Lancaster Square Routes visit For more information on parking facilities in the city centre, including the changes being brought in through the ETRO, visit

• Did you know? Horseshoe Corner is the unofficial name of the intersection between Penny Street, Cheapside and Market Street in Lancaster. It is so named because of the horseshoe once set into the paving at the centre of this crossroads and due to be restored. Legend has is that John o' Gaunt's horse shed a shoe here when he left Lancaster castle for the last time. This was once the centre of the mediaeval City of Lancaster. More info: