Alnwick councillor calls for public referendum on Narrowgate pedestrianisation

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An Alnwick councillor has called for a public referendum on the pedestrianisation of Narrowgate.

The street was pedestrianised in July 2019 for what was meant to be a 12-month trial only for the Covid pandemic to lead to an extension.

Cllr Gordon Castle, member for Alnwick ward on Northumberland County Council, revealed in an update to Alnwick Town Council that further consultation was now planned before a final decision is made.

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It is believed a number of Narrowgate retailers are in favour of pedestrianisation while others have welcomed a more pleasant shopping environment.

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

However, Cllr Peter Broom, who wants traffic reinstated, has called for the wider community to be given a say.

“I know there has been a consultation where a couple of hundred people got involved but to me that’s not a big enough picture,” he said.

"I wondered if we could consider a referendum where the people of Alnwick can make a decision on how they want their town to look rather than it being decided by a couple of officers at County Hall?"

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Some traders have also previously complained about a significant drop in footfall on Bondgate Within since the trial started, while safety concerns have also been raised.

“It was really busy last week in Alnwick and the number of cars that were doing U-turns in Bondgate Within was just crazy,” said Cllr Broom.

But Cllr Castle responded: “The town council will be able to express a view to the county council and there will be a period of consultation which will be as thorough as we can possibly make it but we can’t have a referendum to make decisions of this nature.”

Meanwhile, he told members that council officers are continuing to work on a traffic regulation order necessary for the part-pedestrianisation of the Market Place.

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Consultation has been completed on a proposed pedestrian crossing near the Co-op on Victoria Terrace. Two objections have been lodged with concerns about the impact on parking.

But Cllr Castle said: “I am expecting this to be passed on to the works programme for construction as soon as possible.”

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