Sitting up high in Gazette Towers, it has been very clear to see the change in road behaviour since the closure of the Bondgate Tower in Alnwick last week.
Surprisingly, contrary to many people’s moans and groans, I believe the closure has made a significant difference to the traffic flow.
With the Easter weekend firmly over, you will hear shopkeepers tell of the impact the closure had, but think of all the time saved by not having to sit and wait for a gap so you can nip through the arch.
As I was in town over the weekend, I noticed two very important things.
Firstly, cars were turning left at the tower with ease. Of course, this may have caused some congestion along the twisty roads of Hotspur Street and Green Batt, but wasn’t it great to see minimal traffic on the road along Bondgate Without?
Secondly, did anyone notice how easy it was to walk around town?
I know this may be a very controversial thing to say but isn’t it a good opportunity to discuss the pedestrianisation of the town centre?
Some businesses may struggle with deliveries but surely if the centre is pedestrianised then, not only does it become a more family-friendly place in the summer, but, more importantly, it forces people to stop and actually get out of their cars and enjoy the area.
I am not saying that we close the whole of the town centre. Use Fenkle Street down to Narrowgate and have ample access there, for example.
People aren’t going to stop coming into Alnwick because a section of the road is closed or only open to pedestrians.
We have just had one of the town’s busiest weekends and, if the town centre at midday on Saturday was anything to go by, pedestrianisation could prove a winner with shoppers and visitors.
Surely diverting traffic away from the centre of town could protect old structures like the Hotspur Tower, which has been damaged by vehicles many times over the years.
It wasn’t that long ago that concerns were being raised over the tower’s stability.
With summer on the horizon, its permanent closure could be a solution well worth looking at.