Independent Councillor for Ashton Ward Tim Armit would like to pedestrianise St Annes Square.
The vocal Councillor yesterday posted on the popular Only Way is St Annes Facebook Forum the below:
“The proposal is that we should completely pedestrianise St Annes Square. This is simple and cheap to do and with countless benefits and almost no negatives.
How does it work? We already have three controlled crossing points so it is not an easy thoroughfare, but with a few changes we can make it something special.
We change St Georges Road to one way from Clifton Drive to St Andrews Road North. This increases the number of parking spaces as one way means both sides can easily and safely be used. One direction, especially for elderly drivers, is safer and easier to use and helps the flow of traffic.
We then turn right on St Andrews and that small part of it is one way too. Then one way up the Crescent until St Andrews Road South where we turn right and the one way ends at this point as cars coming up the Crescent from St Davids traffic lights can also turn left towards Wood Street. Down the slope and then one way on Wood Street with all junctions two way on and off. Wood Street then also has more parking space, simpler flow of traffic and no delays as we see daily now.
We can then put in a zebra crossing outside Sainsbury’s where the two lanes become one thus increasing the safety or shoppers crossing the road. The new route also takes all cars passed the multi storey car park encouraging its use and increasing the access to parking in the town. The one way system makes crossing the road simpler and safer for all residents as they only need to look one way.
How are buses managed? We put the road closure for the Square indented from Clifton Drive and create space for two bus stops. If needed more stops can be looked at on the now one way streets around the Station which makes a natural transport exchange point.
The road from St Georges and Wood Street to the Square (Park Street, Orchard Road etc) have diagonal parking spaces along the length of them creating yet more parking space in the centre of town.
This simple change improves traffic flow, increases parking availability, increases road safety, creates a dedicated town centre
This then gives us a wonderful Square or Piazza for events, Christmas markets, the current market to grow and can be on weekends when people can get to it. For musical entertainment, for café bars and seating. A place to draw people in from afar, increase footfall and income and put St Annes on the map for people’s weekends out. A destination town.
If the flats above the shops are then enhanced, with balconies, we create almost an continental Square with homes, entertainment and shopping, this approach keeps the high street alive and our town flourishing. Dedicated retail high streets are foundering but mixing retail, entertainment, food outlets and living space brings it alive.
This can initially be done with simple signing and the road closed. As time goes on improvements on design and look can continue. This can almost be implemented with no cost and no time and it is hard to find the risks or negatives in this proposal.”
However he was met with serious backlash as many residents believe this would decrease footfall even further in the already struggling town, and could potentially force even more shops to shut.