There has been an excellent and constructive response to the request for views on the traffic situation in Bishop’s Castle. Thank you to everyone who has responded. There is recognition that when the medieval town was laid out, cars were not on the agenda – and that if there had been an easy solution to the traffic issues we face today it would have been found by now! There were many good and differing views expressed.
Shropshire County Council wishes to pursue what is deemed to be best practice when it comes to traffic management and road safety. However many such elements do not fit comfortably with older towns. The purpose of this exercise is to develop a traffic plan for Bishop’s Castle which has broad support and will be sustainable. We need to assemble the facts to support our ideas so we can argue our case.
Well over 50 detailed comments have been received and a summary of views will, without name attribution, be put on the Town Council website (www.bishopscastle.co.uk). The Bishop’s Castle Community Partnership has produced a detailed report which , following consultation, supports the introduction of a one-way system down High street and west along Welsh Street. The full report is also on the Council Website.
The Council will now discuss how best to take this forward and, before any formal plan is developed, an open meeting will be held probably in the late Summer /early Autumn, to go through findings and ideas and to answer questions and obtain further feedback.
To summarise comments received (on website) :
Although much further discussion is needed, there appears to be general agreement on some key points :
- A 20 (or 10) mph speed limit for the town
- Better and better placed signs to stop heavy vehicles (HGVs) from coming through the town.
- Speed warning signs on the three key roads coming into the town
- Better positioning of disabled parking spaces – there should be one in Market Square – and a process for prohibiting those without a ‘badge’ from using them
- Better signage for car parks – and a process for removing cars that have overstayed their welcome.
- That too many ‘signs’ would detract from the character of the town
- A proper plan for future parking/electric charge points ie at the bottom of Station Street by Public Hall and at the top of the town.
- Traffic calming, crossings or signage to slow the speed of traffic and deter the racers on Main Street and Union Street – especially in areas where pedestrians have to walk in the roadway.
- Better provision of advice that, where possible, cars should park on the roadway and if they have to park on the pavement ie Corporation Street/Welsh Street/Salop Street, they should if possible leave space for those with disabilities and mums with buggies to get through.
- In view of increased, often fast moving traffic on Kerry Lane, some form of crossing is needed near Six Bells/Brampton Road.
The key issues of the one-way system and pavement parking will need much more debate and consideration :
- The suggested one-way system raised many valid questions. There were strong views expressed both ‘for’ and ‘against’ – and many specific comments. Some could not understand why a one-way system had not been introduced years ago, others felt that it would speed up traffic making the traffic situation worse and questioned the need for change. Before anything was considered it was suggested research should be undertaken of several towns which have introduced a one way system but which have then reverted to their original arrangements, to find out why?
- The key reasons given for the proposal a) ‘pavements are blocked by cars’ and b) ‘emergency vehicles can’t get through’ were questioned. No-one to date has been able to point to any specific instances where the emergency services have had problems.
- Pinch points – parked cars blocking pavements in Welsh Street, Salop Street – or physical structure ie Bull Street, the top of Union Street, New Street, Welsh Street/Castle Street junction – need to be reviewed again to see if anything more can be done to provide greater safety for pedestrians who have to walk in the road.
- Other ideas which merit consideration include making the town pedestrian led with no roadways as such on key old streets but with vehicles still having access and parking as in many old European towns.