VIDEO: Curtain up on city’s new look

This is a first glimpse at how the heart of Lancaster could look thanks to a £1m revamp of the city centre which aims to attract more visitors and boost the economy.

A concrete ‘plinth’ performance and seating space is to be erected in the centre of Market Square on the site of the former fountain.

An artist's impression of how the 'plinth' style centrepiece might look in Market Square.

An artist's impression of how the 'plinth' style centrepiece might look in Market Square.

It will form part of the Square Routes improvement works, which will also see new street surfaces, seating and lighting for the length of Cheapside, Horseshoe Corner and Penny Street and new surfacing for the length of Market Street.

There will also be improved signage and way-finding information for visitors.

Work is due to begin in early March, and should be completed by July.

While work is ongoing, the Charter Market will be temporarily moved from Market Street to the surrounding area, and will return in an improved layout.

The project is being led by the city council in partnership with the county council and is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund Programme and both councils.

Coun 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.”

Complementary to the works will be an 18-month experimental traffic regulation order from February 3 to better manage traffic within the pedestrian zone.

Coun John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport at Lancashire County Council, said: “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.”

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.”