St George’s Residents’ Association in Stamford calls on Lincolnshire County Council to move ahead with low-traffic neighbourhood
Campaigners calling to reduce traffic in a town centre neighbourhood believe it won’t be long until someone is ‘seriously injured or worse’.
The St George’s Residents’ Association group has been calling for a low-traffic neighbourhood to be created near the town centre for more than three years.
They want St George’s Square, St George’s Street, Maiden Lane, Gas Lane, St Leonard’s Street, Blackfriars Street, St Mary’s Street and St Mary’s Place to be closed to through-traffic, meaning people could drive to reach homes, businesses and parking, but not use it as a shortcut.
It follows a number of occasions where vehicles, mainly HGVs, have hit cars and buildings or become stuck near the arts centre.
Stamford Town Councillor Shaun Ford has labelled the situation as ‘disturbing’ and ‘dangerous’.
“I can only imagine it is going to end when someone gets killed or badly injured by the lorries being where they shouldn’t be,” said Coun Ford.
This week there have been two incidents when lorries have become stuck trying to manoeuvre through the tight streets.
In both instances cars and buildings were hit.
Coun Amanda Wheeler, who lives nearby, told Stamford Town Council on Tuesday how more than 20 people in the street had to direct the driver out of the small space.
It is not just HGVs which are a concern to the group but also car drivers using St George’s Street as a shortcut.
“On a daily basis you walk up St George’s Street and see cars climbing the pavements to get past each other as there is not enough room,” said Coun Ford.
“Pedestrians have to jump out of their way.”
In October last year, following frustration from residents that nothing had moved forward, a spokesperson for Lincolnshire County Council, which is responsible for the roads, said a ‘consultation event will be held in the coming months’.
“Every time we get told it is on its way, but its 18 months we have been waiting on it,” said Coun Ford.
“That is not even a decision, it is just a consultation.”
He added: “It is very frustrating but more than that it is actually disturbing.
“As more incidents occur we wonder how soon it will be before someone gets injured or worse.”
St George’s Residents’ Association was created after residents saw the benefits of the five month road closure put in place while repair work was carried out at Marks and Spencer in Stamford in 2020. The section of St George’s Street between St Leonard’s Street and St Paul’s Street was closed to vehicles.
The group believes that no major disruption was caused then - or even during the Red Lion Square last year and St Mary’s Street closures - so ‘traffic will always cope’.
In July Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hit the brakes on low-traffic neighbourhoods as he ordered a review into them.
Coun Richard Davies (Con), executive member for highways at Lincolnshire County Council, said because of this, the council has decided ‘to pause any work on introducing a low-traffic neighbourhood in Stamford’.
He added: "Before progressing, we need to understand what central government's view on low-traffic neighbourhoods is before spending additional time and money looking at the implementation of them.
"Once the situation becomes clearer from a national perspective, we will take a decision on how to best move ahead regarding the historic St George’s area of Stamford."
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