WHEN the social distancing measures were announced by the Government, Warrington Borough Council officers identified the need to try and assist the Borough’s Town and Village Centres in relation to pedestrians’ ability to social distance and provide better pedal cycle accessibility where possible.
In early June 2020 a partnership of Ward Members, Parish Councillors and Warrington Borough Council Officers began rationalising the ability to provision wider footpaths through the village centre of Lymm. Due to the existing highway restrictions the best way of achieving wider footpaths and allow safe passage of pedestrians past shop queues the option of a one way system was proposed and circulated towards the end of that month. Responses identified issues with deliveries, the impact on the required diversion route roads, restrictions to the bus service in accessing the three busiest stops in Lymm, and also concerns about the aesthetics due to the type of barrier required to implement this option. It was noted that the partnership would need to look for an alternate option.
Following further meetings the partnership identified the potential for a full weekend closure of both the main route through the Village and Bridgewater Street from 6pm on a Friday evening through to 11pm Sunday to allow social distancing at the Village’s busiest times. This proposal would assist many food and drink retail outlets without restricting bus services and week day deliveries / collections. A further invitation for comments was delivered to approximately 340 properties (as per the previous circulation for the one way provision) on Friday 24th July. Responses to this proposal identified access issues for residents, the need for weekend post office access for local business’ parcels and Environment Agency weekend access to the weir in addition to the cleansing requirements after possible unsociable evening activity.
The partnership had identified several alterations to the proposed weekend closure to mitigate the concerns raised although unfortunately, due to the safety of pedestrians through the Village Centre, none of these alterations were viable. The proposed weekend closure of Bridgewater Street did not identify the same concerns as those presented for the closure of Eagle Brow and The Cross. Access to the Henry Street car park was raised as a problem due to the present one way road connecting this to the Davies Way car park. With an alteration to a short section of the Boat Stage to provide a priority give way arrangement vehicles would be able to move in both directions to access Henry Street car park.
The outcome of the consultation on the various options explored to facilitate social distancing for road users is that they are too problematic to implement on Eagle Brow and The Cross without adversely affecting residents, businesses and pedestrian safety. Therefore; it is intended that as from the 6pm of the 31st July, only Bridgewater Street will be closed for the weekend, up to 11pm on Sunday 2nd August. This will continue every weekend for six weeks up to and including 6th September.
Throughout this process there has always been an intention to widen the narrow footpath outside ‘Eighteen’ and ‘The Wine Kitchen’ on the North side of Pepper Street at its junction with The Cross. This is due to the existing narrow footpath that on occasions requires pedestrians to pass in the road increasing the risk of conflicts with passing vehicles. It is intended to also provide this proposal full time through the same six week period that the Bridgewater Street weekend closures will be in place and possibly beyond depending on necessity.
Both locations will be managed by a dedicated traffic management company and the partnership will monitor the situation closely. Any issues that arise from the traffic management measures being in place can be reported at the email address below: