HUNDREDS of concerned residents have urged Warwickshire County Council (WCC) to rethink its decision to temporarily implement a one-way system to roads in Rugby town centre, claiming it is already causing ‘delay, confusion and anger’ just one day after being introduced.
A petition started by Labour Borough Councillor Kieren Brown calling for alterations to the scheme – which was introduced on Monday (June 22) to help shoppers maintain social distancing – has been signed by 945 people.
Coun Brown said: “We believe it will be a disaster for our town.
“WCC has approved considerable traffic changes in Rugby with no public consultation. And we have seen the results of the first stage – delay, confusion and public anger.
“Of course, we want to get shops open and business to thrive again. But the imposition of this one-way system significantly alters Rugby’s road network through the town centre and is both counter-productive and wrong.
“It’s very unclear who was actually spoken to before the plans were drawn up because there was no consultation.
“We would love to think that those responsible for this have a really clear idea of criteria for success and that they will monitor the effect on businesses, on disabled people, on traffic build-up and the environment in residential roads across Rugby.
“If the criteria for ‘success’ aren’t met, then the plans must be changed.”
Lower Hillmorton Road resident Dr DM Sharp told The Observer: “Like many residents in Rugby, I have had the changes to traffic flow around the town centre sprung upon me.
“While this may have government support and be well-intentioned, the decisions have not involved the residents of Rugby and by definition are not democratic.
“And the fact that the changes are being imposed upon us by the distant Shire Hall, further highlights the lack of the local population’s input into changes that personally affect them.”
Coun Jeff Clarke, transport and planning spokesman for the Conservative-controlled WCC, said they had to act swiftly, which prevented widespread community engagement.
He said: “Overall there is a consensus among partners that this is the right thing to do in Rugby.
“We will be monitoring the scheme carefully and will adapt it if necessary, to ensure it remains suitable and appropriate to local needs and conditions.
“The plans will help businesses operate, give the public confidence that they can safely return to use and enjoy the town centre, and give our businesses and communities a much-needed boost.”
Clifton Road, Church Street and North Street are closed to westbound traffic from the Murray Road roundabout to the junction of North Street, Evreux Way and Park Road.
Hillmorton Road is closed to eastbound traffic from Barby Road to the Whitehall Road roundabout.
Lawrence Sheriff Street will remain open in both directions between the gyratory and Barby Road to support access to St Cross Hospital.
Some on-street parking has been suspended on parts of Regent Street, Albert Street, Bank Street and Henry Street, with parking for blue badge holders at the southern end of Albert Street.
Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/covid19roadlayouts for more information on the one-way system.
Visit https://tinyurl.com/y857hp9p to sign the petition.