Row over cars in Chorley town centre
4:27pm Wednesday 6th March 2013 in News
A traders’ group has accused county officials of ‘ignoring the wishes of the people of Chorley’ after delays to plans to re-open a section of Market Street to traffic.
Last year Chorley Council, after a consultation with business owners and shoppers, announced that Market Street would be re-opened to vehicles on a trial basis.
The changes, supported by the borough council, would allow traffic to travel one-way, with additional crossing points.
It would also create 30 new parking spaces along Market Street, and change the parking spaces in St George’s Street.
However, final approval for the plans needs to be granted at County Hall, where councillors have yet to sign off on the project saying it has ‘consequences for traffic and safety’.
Malcolm Allen, chairman of Chorley Traders’ Alliance, said: “It’s 15 years since it was closed to traffic and pedestrianised. The majority of the town’s traders protested at this development for years.
“The traders of Chorley have pleaded with successive councils to reverse the their decision. During last summer, as part of a drive to inject new vigour into the town, the new council administration announced they would consider opening the street again.
“Plans were drawn up, funding identified, a great deal of work carried out.
“A full consultation process was implemented with a resounding ‘yes’ to the re-opening of the street.”
Mr Allen added that he understood the plans have now been submitted to Lancashire County Council and rest at the office of county councillor Tim Ashton, who has so far declined to approve the project.
“Why will Councillor Ashton not listen to the voices of local businesses?” added Mr Allen.
Tim Ashton, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “I am keen to work with Chorley Council and the traders on the proposal to reopen Market Street to traffic, but there are consequences for traffic and safety which we have needed time to consider.
"I will be meeting with Chorley Council very soon to take this forward."
The plans will see traffic being able to travel north to south, 30-minute free parking, new planters to act as traffic calming measures and a series of crossing points.
The plans also include a new layout of parking spaces along St George’s Street in a herringbone style to create extra spaces.