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Survey shows illegal use of Winchester city centre road
1:04pm Monday 4th March 2013 in News
THE row over a rat-run through the city centre rumbles on, as a survey reveals the majority of drivers are using the route illegally.
A county council report showed 74 per cent of motorists were using Symond's Street and St Swithun Street as a short cut, not for access to The Square or Great Minster Street.
Winchester City Council will now press ahead with plans for a 6ft width restriction at the junction of Great Minster Street with Symonds Street, meaning many delivery vehicles will be forced to access The Square from the north, providing some traffic relief for residents of St Swithun Street and Symonds Street.
Council officers also recommended the introduction of two-way traffic on Market Lane from St Maurice’s covert to the junction with Market Street.
At a meeting of the city’s parking and traffic bosses, Peter Grant, chairman of St Swithun Street and Symond's Street Residents’ Association, said: “The residents who are affected by the traffic are as big a stakeholder as the businesses on The Square and I was very disappointed that we were not brought into the thinking on this at an earlier stage. In the future I would be grateful if you treated us in the same way as the BID (Business Improvement District).”
A previous investigation by the BID indicated that businesses were opposed to restricting access to The Square on a permanent basis.
However, addressing the meeting on Monday, Catherine Turness of the BID, said: “We’re in support of these recommendations. The majority of businesses too are in favour. They believe it’s a well thought out solution and the BID looks forward to the scheme starting.”
Keith Scorgie, managing director at Design House, on Great Minster Street, said he hadn’t been made aware of the new plans, but found them reasonable.
“I think this rat-run thing is a little bit over-exaggerated. I think the majority of people using this road are local.”
An experimental traffic regulation order will now go ahead to implement the width restriction and two-way traffic, with improvement works in the area slated for March and lasting about 10 weeks.
A further report will be brought before the committee within 18 months to evaluate the changes.