A Town On The Up
Penwortham is currently challenging other towns in the North West when it comes to shopping due to its diverse range of independent stores, writes Tracy Hargreaves
Driving through Penwortham it’s plain to see that this town is buzzing and the place everyone wants to be. There’s hardly an empty shop on the high street, with existing companies continuing to do well and new businesses opening up all the time.
We’re all constantly reminded of how the Great British high street is dying due to online shopping and the increase in out of centre retail parks, not to mention high business rates, but Penwortham and its neighbour Preston are fighting back.
In the last few months alone, there’s been a new barber shop, micropub and wine bar, all adding to the list of outlets successfully trading and Penwortham is now being seen as the new Lytham. So, what is its secret?
It’s a great place to invest and do business as well as live. The new £17m bypass is helping build on excellent transport links into the town and a City Deal has been agreed to accelerate local economic growth. Building on the success of the first wave of City Deals agreed last year, the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal will drive forward local growth over a 10-year period and is expected to generate more than 20,000 new private sector jobs.
There are also several thriving business support networks in South Ribble, as well as lots of events and activities throughout the year.
While managing to maintain its community feel, Penwortham is fast becoming a destination visit, not only for its array of independent shops you can’t find anywhere else, many of which are family owned, such as Macmillans gift shop and café and occasion wear specialist Flamingo, but also for its nightlife. Newcomers the Tap and Vine are the latest to join the Penwortham family, having looked around for suitable premises for several years. The micropub complements the cocktail and wine bar, Lime, which opened last year after a significant investment and both aim to offer residents and visitors to Penwortham something fresh and different.
For other amenities there’s everything you could want without having to travel out of town, including estate agents, solicitors, bakeries, health and beauty, garages, pubs, restaurants and coffee shops as well as yoga and wellbeing studios, Penwortham Golf Club, Ribble Vets and food retailer Booths.
The town also places a huge emphasis on local events, which brings the community together and welcomes new visitors in. Music festival Penwortham Live, on 18th and 19th May, is one of the bigger events on the calendar and involves local businesses joining together to create a great festival atmosphere for residents and visitors alike.
Outlets including Tap and Vine, BonBons Coffee Bar, The Prestige Barber, St Teresa’s Social Club, Roberts & Co estate agents and Lime Bar are just a few who will be playing host to different acts over the weekend.
Penwortham Gala in June is another regular event, along with the Penwortham firework display and Christmas markets.
When it comes to living in the area, well apparently South Ribble is the best place to live in the UK, according to a Channel 4 programme aired last year. Why? Affordable housing, access to both Manchester and Liverpool, a community friendly feel and great countryside on its doorstep.
The area has a plethora of schools with an excellent reputation, so families won’t be short of choice when it comes to giving their children the best education, whatever their age. Whether it be after schools’ clubs such as the outstanding rating Schools Out at St Teresa’s or Penwortham Girls High School, which enjoys a unique status as the only non-selective, non-fee playing girls school in Lancashire.
Penwortham is also set to gain a new McCarthy & Stone development, exclusively for the over 55s. Construction of the new development will begin in summer 2018, with off plan reservations being taken from early 2019. The development will comprise a mixture of 51 one and two-bedroom apartments. In addition, Linden Homes is building a range of apartments and two, three and four-bedroom houses, which will be ideal for young professionals, growing families and downsizers.
And if you just want to get away from it all, then Hurst Park is a quiet sanctuary. The largest of the parks in Penwortham, located between Hill Road and Cop Lane. The former estate of Hurst Grange Mansion is now an attractive landscape of trees, ponds and wild flower meadows and the park has retained its Green Flag Award every year since 2005.
So add a trip to Penwortham to your list. Enjoy a little retail therapy during the day and treat yourself in one of the many eateries at night, as Penwortham is the place to be.