Survey reports improved environment at Narrowgate
23 Mar 2020
Northumberland County Council has published the results of an interim survey on the impact of a trial pedestrianisation scheme at Narrowgate in Alnwick.
Residents and businesses were asked their views on how the scheme has gone so far, and this has allowed the council to consider any improvements that can be made part way through the trial.
A section of Narrowgate was closed to traffic on 29 July last year, to try out a pedestrianised layout. This was proposed following safety concerns in the area, and in order to create a more pedestrian-friendly space.
The trial is allowing the opportunity to test how a new layout works, to monitor adjoining streets to see how they cope with any changes in traffic, and to highlight any other issues or benefits that the scheme can bring.
The survey asked residents and local businesses their preference of layout, how the trial is affecting them, and whether at this stage they would like to see it become permanent.
Of the businesses who responded to the survey, the majority (67%) said that trading had either increased or stayed the same since the trial closure was implemented. However there were some localised variations to this, with the majority (63%) of businesses in Narrowgate saying that trading had increased, while the majority (60%) of those in Bondgate Within said that trading had decreased.
The majority of people who live within Narrowgate and Bondgate Within who responded to the survey preferred the new layout (82% in favour), whilst those who live further away from the town centre tended to prefer the original layout (57%).
Of those residents who said that they don’t like the closure, the majority (58%) only use Narrowgate as a route to other parts of the town.
Both businesses and residents submitted similar comments on the trial so far.
Comments in favour referred to the improved environment for shopping and browsing whilst those against mentioned a negative effect on trade, safety concerns associated with vehicles turning at the end of Bondgate Within and the safety of the Fenkle Street/Market Street Junction.
Camera surveys were also carried out to monitor Bondgate Within and Fenkle St and the council will continue to gather information on how the streets around town are operating.
The double yellow lines at the south end of Fenkle Street have already been extended to keep the junction clear of parked cars.
Options for this area of the town centre were first put forward for consultation at an Alnwick Forum event late in 2018. The Alnwick Forum is a partnership between Northumberland County Council and Alnwick Town Council, aimed at improving and securing the future of the town.
Alnwick County Councillor Gordon Castle said: “
I would like to sincerely thank all those who took part in the survey for their feedback, which we are taking into account as the trial continues this year.
“We want to work closely with everyone in the town, to ensure that we make improvements which support the local community.
"Inevitably the current Coronavirus crisis will have an impact on businesses in the coming weeks and months, and effects like this will also need to be taken into account when assessing the trial.”
A further survey about the Narrowgate scheme for both residents and businesses is planned for later this year.
A final decision will then be taken on the future arrangements for Narrowgate, taking into account survey results and other considerations including road and pedestrian safety.
You can see the full report on the survey here