Alnwick town centre streetscape project delayed to avoid summer disruption

Plans to revamp part of Alnwick town centre have been put back until the autumn.
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Work to create a vehicle turning circle on Bondgate Within and pave the now pedestrianised Narrowgate had initially been pencilled in for the quieter winter period.

However, a delay in the delivery of materials put the scheme behind schedule and Northumberland County Council has now decided to wait until the end of the peak visitor season before undertaking the project.

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Cllr Gordon Castle, Alnwick ward member, explained: “Whilst work could have begun as planned this month, unfortunately some of the kerb stones have not yet been delivered, so rather than have a job half finished with further disruption to come, the council consulted businesses on that stretch who were directly affected and an overwhelming majority favoured a delayed start till autumn.

Narrowgate in Alnwick.Narrowgate in Alnwick.
Narrowgate in Alnwick.

"The council did order the kerb stones in what should have been enough time as soon as the work was programmed, but the contractor has been unable to deliver yet.

"It’s a further regrettable delay but the work is still funded and programmed.”

Cllr Martin Swinbank, fellow ward member, added: "The delay to the works to create the sandstone paved surface and new vehicle turning area in Narrowgate is disappointing.

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"The decision to delay until all the materials for the work have arrived has been taken in conjunction with business owners who are overall agreed that this is the preferred option.

"This will allow the busy summer period to pass before construction starts, and reduce the overall disruption of delivering the work. It should be completed well ahead of Christmas.

"I look forward to the completed scheme which will greatly enhance the appearance of Narrowgate and make it safer for pedestrians.”

The council committed funding to the project last year after a lengthy consultation period.

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The pedestrianisation of Narrowgate has split opinion since it was introduced on a trial basis in July 2019.

While it has generally been welcomed by Narrowgate traders, others say trade has dropped outside of the pedestrianised zone while safety fears have been raised over vehicles turning at the now dead-end of Bondgate Within.

A second phase of work is also in the design stage to cut back the pavement outside Sherkhan to improve sight lines for traffic turning left out of Fenkle Street.