Housing, new roads, the younger generation: How you would spend £25m on our city

#MyTown Campaign
#MyTown Campaign in 100 towns in the UK Credit: GOVUK

What would you spend £25m on in Preston?

The government has launched a #MyTown campaign, in a bid to find out how local people want £25m to be spent in their local area.

People in 100 places across England are being asked to help write the future of their town.

The Gov.uk website says the “MyTown campaign gives people a say in how a new generation of Town Deals, each worth up to £25 million, should transform the place they call home.”

GOV UK – MyTown Campaign

Communities and businesses are asked to draw up “ambitious plans to transform their town’s economic growth prospects with a focus on improved transport, broadband connectivity, skills and culture”.

Some of the places in the North West area who are taking part in the campaign are Bolton, Barrow-in-Furness, Birkenhead, Blackpool, Blyth, Carlisle, Cheadle, Cleator Moor, Darwen, Leyland, Millom, Nelson, Oldham, Rochdale, Southport, St Helens, Warrington, Whitby and Workington.

Local people and businesses in Preston have told how they think the money should be spent.

Bernice Newton, owner of the Townhous Coffee Shop on Friargate, Preston
Bernice Newton, owner of the Townhouse Coffee Shop on Friargate, Preston Credit: Chloe Wilson

Bernice Newton, 32, owner of Townhouse coffee shop on Friargate, said: “I think one of the things that needs investing in is a connection from this side of the city to the city centre. So at the moment, we have a ring road, the A59, that cuts the city apart.

“In my opinion, they either need to change the ring road or they need to tunnel it and they need to form a fluency through the city that conveniently gets you from A to B safely.

“We don’t have the safety of the CCTV or the police present on the street.”

Aysha Umarji, 22, said the city needs to invest more into its children.

She said: “I would spend the money on facilities for young people, where they can get together; like a leisure centre maybe, where they can do activities or take part in clubs because I don’t know if there is stuff already out there.

“I think young people will use it.”

James Hurtault, 65, said he would spend the money on the younger generation and housing.

Preston Council needs to build 6,084 houses by 2026, according to the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework.

He said: “I would give more young people more opportunities by trying to help the lower-class students as a lot of them cannot afford to go to university.

“Also, we have a big thing in Preston to do with housing, I would invest into houses as there are not a lot of houses for people.”

Paul Alcock - postofficer in Preston
Paul Alcock – postofficer in Preston Credit: Chloe Wilson

Postman Paul Alcock, 39, who works for Royal Mail, said: “I would invest the money into the city because it gets more people in.

“When I do my shopping I go to the Trafford Centre because it’s easier, it’s 25 miles down the road, instead of paying to park and driving around the one-way systems in Preston.”

The idea of #MyTown is for people to also share the history and plans for a bright future in their area.

The campaign comes as part of the government’s commitment to level up all regions.

To join the debate, go to the MyTown campaign page and let the government know where you think money should be invested in your local are.