Now is the time for pedestrianisation

Alnwick Town Centre'Narrowgate

Alnwick Town Centre'Narrowgate

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New plans should be put forward for partially pedestrianising Alnwick town centre, the Gazette has been told.

In last week’s Gazette, we reported that Alnwick Chamber of Trade (ACT) chairman Carlo Biagioni had suggested that some form of pedestrianisation in the Narrowgate area might help businesses.

He suggested the section between Fenkle Street and Paikes Street be looked at.

Now Alnwick town and county councillor Gordon Castle has said he would support that decision – but a proposal needs to come from ACT and be endorsed by the town council.

Coun Castle said: “My view is that a pedestrian priority scheme should be put in place along Bondgate Within, from Iceland, to the junction with Fenkle Street.

“I do not go with full pedestrianisation, banning all vehicles, but cars certainly should be required to share the whole space with pedestrians, whose movements would have priority.

“Exit/access via Narrowgate should be prevented, or severely limited so that the road can be paved over at that point and be made more useful from a retail point of view.

“I have held this view for many years, but some traders do not share it and have effectively blocked any progress.

“I now think the time is right to try again. I am very much against any attempt to seal off Alnwick town centre and force vehicles around the town via Green Batt and Lisburn Street.”

He added: “We need visitors with cars to keep the fragile economy going, but we mustn’t let traffic congestion ruin the central shopping spaces.

“One step at a time, with carefully tried and tested schemes to see what works and what doesn’t, is my way forward.”

In 2007, Alnwick Civic Society compiled a streetscape report which suggested options for pedestrians having priority throughout the town centre.

Peter Ennor, the Society’s chairman, said: “We would welcome anything that goes some way towards what we had in mind.

“On the face of it, it sounds like a good idea, but we would want to look at the details of what is suggested.

“There are a number of different options, but this would be a starting point. It would give us a chance to move forward if we wanted to.”