Transformation of city streets to begin

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A city council scheme to upgrade Best Lane, Orange Street and The Friars in Canterbury starts on Monday 14 May.

The £600,000 project aims to extend the environmental improvements in the King’s Mile along these three roads, enhancing the cultural area around the Marlowe Theatre, the Beaney and other venues, and increasing footfall and trade for businesses.

Pavements will be upgraded to high quality sawn yorkstone paving, and there will be new road surfacing similar to that in the King’s Mile and Northgate.

It’s part of the council’s city centre transformation package, unveiled in 2016, to improve parking facilities and pedestrian areas using income gained from some increases in parking charges.

Consultation carried out for this element of the package in autumn last year showed 65 per cent of respondents in favour of it, while 77 per cent supported the use of the materials proposed.

The work will be carried out in phases, starting with Best Lane in May and June. Orange Street will follow in June and July. It will end with The Friars and the junction between all three roads in August and into early autumn.

In addition, the project includes the extension of the city centre pedestrianised zone from St Peter’s Street along The Friars. Following public consultation, the proposed extent of this has been reduced a little and will now stretch as far as the bridge.

It is anticipated the entire scheme will be finished in November. All dates are approximate and weather-depending. Pedestrian access will be available throughout and any road closure diversions will be signposted. Mechanical work will only be allowed between 8am and 6pm.

A site manager from contractor FM Conway and a council engineer will be on site daily throughout the work, keeping in close contact with residents and businesses and being available to address any issues as work progresses.

Chairman of the council’s Regeneration and Property Committee, Cllr Ben Fitter-Harding, said: “We’re excited to be getting underway with this important scheme for the city centre, which has had a lot of public support. Our overall transformation package was well received and we continue to work our way through the various projects.

“The Station Road West multi-storey has been granted planning permission, the ANPR system for parking is nearing the end of procurement process, we’ll be doing the Castle Street transformation in 2019 and later this year will submit the planning application to expand Wincheap park and ride.

“It’s an ambitious programme but we’re committed to making these improvements for the benefit of everyone who lives and works here and Canterbury’s many visitors.”

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