Some tourists showing 'total disregard for safeguards' in Alnwick, councillor tells meeting

A range of temporary measures to make Alnwick town centre safer for pedestrians have been proposed.

Thursday, 3rd September 2020, 6:00 am

Alnwick Town Council has called for the introduction of a 20mph speed limit and traffic restrictions on two areas of Market Street where there are narrow footpaths to help with social distancing.

Councillors agreed to ask for the suspension of parking bays by George F White and the cordoning off of the wagonway between Carlo’s fish and chip shop and Turnbull’s the butcher.

The requests will now be put to Northumberland County Council.

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Alnwick town centre.

Cllr Martin Swinbank said: “When it’s busy you’re not going to exceed 20mph but there are times when people are driving a little too fast and this may help them think a bit more about the speed they are driving.”

Concerns about visitors ignoring social distancing guidelines were also raised by Cllr John Humphries.

"These are sound proposals,” he said. “However, in the past two or three weeks I have received numerous complaints from local residents about the behaviour of the tourists we get.

"It seems some have a total disregard for existing safeguards and are going around in large groups.

"Quite a number of elderly residents are now afraid to go into the town.

"There seems to be an aggressive atmosphere. I don’t know whether it’s because people have been released from lockdown.”

Cllr Gordon Castle said he was investigating the possibility of temporary tourist information provision with the official office within Alnwick Playhouse likely to be closed until late autumn.

He envisaged a temporary ‘pop-up’ TIC in the Market Place staffed by volunteers.

Mayor Lynda Wearn said: “It sounds like a good idea bu there are a lot of issues that would need thinking about.”

Cllr Linda Wood-Mitchell did not believe it was necessary.

"The safety of volunteers has to be paramount,” she said. “I personally don’t see it as an essential service. Most of the town guides are older people, some of whom have been shielding, so we decided back in March that we would not continue with the town guides programme for the foreseeable future.”

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