Bold and progressive vision welcomed by councillors

Concept design for transforming a cramped through road to a more user-friendly shopping street on Bondgate Within, highlighting the entrance to Paikes Street.
Concept design for transforming a cramped through road to a more user-friendly shopping street on Bondgate Within, highlighting the entrance to Paikes Street.

Town councillors are broadly supportive of the ‘bold and progressive vision’ for the centre of Alnwick, but want to ensure they are involved in the development process.

As reported by the Gazette last month, radical proposals to overhaul the town centre to try to redress the balance between vehicles and pedestrians have been drawn up by Sustrans and Northumberland County Council.

At last Thursday’s meeting, members of Alnwick Town Council agreed the authority’s response to the town-centre audit, whose proposals are broadly in line with the emerging neighbourhood plan.

When we reported the proposals in June, some readers were concerned that these suggestions were for shared spaces or other similar concepts, so it’s worth reinforcing that this is not the case; the proposals are about making the town centre ‘more sustainable’.

Town councillors clearly had similar concerns about accessibility though and in their response, it is highlighted that they particularly like the ‘raised pedestrian crossing’ concept as opposed to dropped kerbs and the pedestrian-priority schemes with the concept of minimum width vehicle lanes.

Plus, Alnwick Town Council is carrying out an access survey and is still looking for people with mobility issues to share their views. Contact 01665 602574 or
A whole series of proposals for the town were unveiled at the June meeting and the town council appreciates that funding is limited and the schemes would need to be spread over a number of years.

As such, it has highlighted four of the 10 projects as priorities, while emphasising that the others should not be ignored.

The first is the proposal for Narrowgate/Bondgate Within (pictured), which would ‘help demonstrate what could be achieved in other areas of the town centre’. But the knock-on impact on Fenkle Street and Market Street needs to be considered.

The second is tackling the lack of safe crossing points on Dispensary/Lagny Street.

The other two were those that the county council representatives indicated were likely to be able to go ahead sooner rather than later: Better connection between The Alnwick Garden and the town centre and the cycle link to Alnmouth Station. Coun George Mavin questioned the latter, saying that cycle and pedestrian routes to the new school are more important.

However, it was suggested that this project, which is being looked at, is a separate issue and the response should relate primarily to the audit.

• The town council has agreed to endorse the submission draft of the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan, which will soon be submitted to the county council. The process will end with a referendum, expected to be later this year, at which 50 per cent of those who vote must support the plan. Work on the plan has been ongoing since September 2011 when Alnwick was selected as a front-runner to create a plan.

• County Coun Heather Cairns told members that Northumberland County Council is planning to paint double yellow lines on one side of The Peth, following issues raised about problem parking on that road. Coun Ken Moore pointed out that cars also tended to park in the hatched areas.