Call made for Alnwick pedestrianisation survey results to be made public

Calls have been made for the results of an Alnwick pedestrianisation survey to be made public.

Wednesday, 19th February 2020, 5:23 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th February 2020, 5:23 pm
Narrowgate in Alnwick.
Narrowgate in Alnwick.

The survey seeking views on the Narrowgate pedestrianisation trial was carried out by Northumberland County Council last autumn.

Coun Lisa Aynsley, who is also chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade, made the appeal at a meeting of Alnwick Town Council.

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“I’ve seen the results and they are far from inconclusive,” said Coun Aynsley. “You can’t do a survey which everyone has requested and then pretend it didn’t happen. It’s scandalous.

“Publish the results whether they are inconclusive or not. Why has it got to be a secret?

“I’m sure if it had come out as 100% for it we would all have been made privy to the information.”

Coun Aynsley has previously expressed concerns about the impact of pedestrianisation, although others have welcomed a traffic-free shopping environment.

“The impact on the businesses down there is absolutely phenomenal and continues to be so,” she said. “It’s impacting on trade and there isn’t a bottomless pit of cash.”

However, other councillors felt the survey findings should not be taken in isolation because associated streetscape and parking issues are still to be addressed.

Coun Martin Swinbank said: “As far as I’m concerned there was no intention ever spelled out that the survey results would be published. They will inform part of the thinking behind how the trial is going and what additional things need to be done.

“I am not defending the way the trial has been done because there are issues we have been unhappy with since the day it was instigated and have not yet been resolved.”

“We are challenging within the Forum to get those issues resolved at every opportunity we have. It’s like banging your head against a brick wall.”

Coun Geoff Watson called for an evidence-based solution, adding: “I’ve spoken to people who love it and others who think it’s a really bad idea.”

It is understood another survey will be conducted before the 12-month trial finishes in July.