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Extension to Newbury town centre pedestrianisation hours proposed

Trial period would see pedestrianisation to last until midnight

Posted by: Communications team on 10 July 2023 14:13
Northbrook Street

You can find an update to this story here: Newbury town centre pedestrianisation trial deferred

Pedestrianisation in Newbury town centre could be extended to midnight each day under a trial being proposed by West Berkshire Council.

The proposal would see the pedestrianised zone, which currently runs from 10am to 5pm, run until midnight and would affect Northbrook Street, Bridge Street, Bartholomew Street (north), Mansion House Street and Market Place. The trial is set to last for at least six months with residents invited to share their experiences of the new arrangements in a survey.

With the town centre being the traffic-free for longer, everyone will be able to enjoy an improved environment in the evenings, more space for outdoor dining and events and it will encourage people to make sustainable travel choices. It is hoped that the trial will begin on Monday 14 August - ahead of the Festival of the Moon event in the town beginning the next day.

The trial will deliver one of the commitments made by the new administration for its first 100 days in office. It also supports aspirations in the Newbury Town Centre Masterplan -  which was shaped by 4,000 survey responses from residents and businesses and endorsed by the Executive earlier this year.

Speaking about the proposal, Councillor Martin Colston, Executive Member for Regeneration, Growth and Strategy Development said:

"We believe this trial will provide a boost for our local economy as well as improving the area for residents. It will encourage more people to come out, enjoy, explore and experience our town centre. It sets out how we want our town centre to be; with more 'spill-out' space for caf├ęs and restaurants and flexibility for larger events and markets, responding to new social and shopping trends.

"Importantly, it will be a trial and we want residents to experience the new arrangements and then tell us what they think about it."

A report, with a recommendation from council officers that the trial is implemented, has been published today. A decision is set to be made by Councillor Denise Gaines, Executive Member for Highways, on Monday 17 July. If approved, the trial will be implemented through the introduction of an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO).

What is an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order?

Traffic Regulation Orders are legal documents which restrict the use of the public highway in many ways, either permanently, experimentally or temporarily.

An Experimental Traffic Regulation Order can be in place for place for up to 18 months. The first six months should be used for the public to comment on how the scheme is working, or not. The Local Authority then has the following 12 months to review all of the comments, decide how to proceed and make the permanent order if the public support outweighs the objections during the consultation.

The benefit of an ETRO is that it gives the community the opportunity to experience the proposed restrictions rather than asking them to comment on something that is theoretical without the commitment of it necessarily being permanent.

An Experimental Traffic Regulation Order does not end at the end of the six month period but remains in place (for up to another 12 months) while the local authority considers the evidence and feedback from the trial and makes a decision on whether or not it should be made permanent.

Last modified: 21 July 2023 07:16

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