OPPOSITION to the temporarily one-way road system in Rugby town centre – introduced on Monday (June 22) to help shoppers maintain social distancing – has grown after the Prime Minister announced a halving of the two-metre rule in England yesterday (Tuesday June 23).
Following the announcement in the House of Commons, Rugby MP Mark Pawsey said the “unwelcome one-way system and the removal of on-street parking… would no longer be necessary.”
Prime Minster Boris Johnson responded: “These measures today obviate the need for the cursed one-way system which he describes.”
The exchange has prompted Rugby Borough Council’s Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors to again call on Warwickshire County Council (WCC) to rethink the scheme.
Labour’s Coun Kieren Brown said: “The County Council urgently needs to clarify whether they agree with Mark Pawsey that the announcement on social distancing makes the town’s one-way system no longer necessary.”
Labour group leader Coun Maggie O’Rourke added: “I felt both sick and cross when I saw what the County Council had agreed to without any local consultation.
“In my view this is nothing short of an act of vandalism on our beautiful town centre.”
Lib Dem group leader Coun Jerry Roodhouse said: “The overwhelming feedback I have had from residents and businesses is that it is a prohibitive system which will make things harder for them.”
Coun Jeff Clarke, transport and planning spokesman for the Conservative-controlled WCC, had previously told The Observer: “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.
A petition against the one-way system has so far attracted nearly 1,000 signatures. Visit https://tinyurl.com/y857hp9p to sign the petition.
The relaxation of some lockdown measures, including the easing of the social distancing rule, comes into force on July 4.
WCC has been contacted for further comment.