Boss of 130-year-old Preston business says it's 'being killed by lorries blocking tiny cobbled street'

The boss of a 130-year-old Preston business says customers are being driven away – and staff driven to distraction – by lorries blocking the tiny cobbled street on which it is based.

Kirsty Reader, general manager of graphics specialists Granthams, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) that the problems were unleashed more than a year ago during the long-running work to pedestrianise Friargate North. While the once busy thoroughfare is now largely vehicle free between Marsh Lane and Ringway, drivers can still access the northernmost stretch leading down from the Adelphi roundabout.

Kirsty says parking in that – newly narrowed – area has now become a “free for all”, with “every man and his dog just abandoning their cars”. The result is that wagons delivering to businesses on Friargate North have often been taking to adjoining Hope Street instead – and parking right in front of Granthams.

“These lorries take up almost the full length of the road, they’re that long – [and] we’re losing business because nobody can get in to us,” Kirtsy explained.


“[They] shouldn’t be on any kind of side roads at all. One has already crashed into our building [when] it was backing up – we thought we’d been bombed or something, the whole place shook. Lots of them also have refrigeration units – [and the noise means] we can’t concentrate.”

She says insult is being added to injury because the weight of the HGVs – which usually reverse the wrong way along Hope Street from the Corporation Street end, because of the difficulty in navigating Friargate North – is damaging the fabric of one of Preston’s oldest cobbled streets.

“We’ve got 12 of the actual square sets that we’ve picked up, because they’ve come loose and been left lying around. We put them in our building so that if anybody’s walking around drunk they don’t put them through the windows,” Kirsty said.

She told the LDRS that one of the most frustrating aspects of the experience is that nobody from Lancashire County Council – which is responsible for the Friargate works – has been out to see for themselves the impact on such a well-established business.

The authority says new waiting and loading restrictions on Friargate North – which form part of the pedestrianisation project that began in late 2021 – are poised to come into force, giving County Hall enforcement powers it has not had until now. Loading bays have been installed and even part of the pedestrianised section will be open for loading purposes for much of the morning.

Existing no waiting rules on Hope Street prohibit parking, but not the kind of loading that has plagued Granthams.

County Cllr Rupert Swarbrick, cabinet member for highways and transport, said the county council “really appreciate[s] how patient our business community and the public have been during the construction phase of this project”.

“We are aware of some issues on the adjoining roads and we are taking action that should help to alleviate some of these issues. Thankfully, new legal measures are expected to be in place in this area later this month, which will enable our enforcement team to issue fines.

“Bollards will also be installed in the area to prevent the public driving on Friargate and businesses will be given access to carry out deliveries during an agreed time window. We are also stepping up our parking enforcement team’s presence in the area.

“We will be monitoring the situation closely and will continue to speak to businesses to understand any unforeseen impacts of the Transforming Friargate and Ringway scheme. This is a significant investment in the Friargate area and with the brighter nights and sunnier days, we would encourage more people [to] come down and see themselves,” County Cllr Swarbrick added.

Noise issues stemming from the parked-up HGVs are a matter for Preston City Council, from whom Kirsty has also now had a response.