Plan to make town centre COVID-19 traffic measures permanent will create even more rat runs!


HAVING been a near-daily visitor to Warrington Town Centre for business and recreational purposes for more than 40 years, I have to say the latest plans to make the temporary COVID-19 related traffic measures permanent, is possibly the most ill-conceived highways proposal I have ever witnessed since the creation of the Bridge Foot chaos, which has now become worse, making three lanes merge into two.

While I totally understand the need to make the town centre more residential friendly, the current temporary system actually creates more rat runs as bemused and confused motorists attempt to navigate their way through a confusing maze.
I know the town centre like the back of my hand and now struggle to find a way through.
The proposed closure to through traffic on Winwick Street near Central Station is an absolute nightmare for people dropping passengers outside the station. This was previously a quick route across town for those who know the area, providing easy access to the main town centre car park. Now this route has been cut off, it is going to have a damaging impact for town centre retailers, as no casual shopper is going to turn around and go around the “system” to get back into town – particularly when it involves well-known bottlenecks on Froghall Lane and the Cockhedge roundabout.
Travelling along Wilson Patten Street has never been easy and obviously, the ongoing roadworks have made the situation a lot worse. I remain to be convinced that the new road coming out at Slutchers Lane will improve things but at the very least we should wait to see the impact BEFORE making any temporary changes permanent.
Recently I had the dubious “pleasure” of travelling into the town centre and almost lost the will to live trying to get back out, surrounded by numerous other motorists struggling to find a way through.
Before making anything permanent decision those involved in planning this system should endeavour to make the following journey.
Drive along Wilson Patten Street and turn into Winmarleigh Street towards the Golden Gates and then make a right turn into Museum Street to access a business or to visit the library. As you come to the end of Museum Street please now tell me how you get out of the town centre without making a u-turn?
I “enjoyed” this experience with many other frustrated and confused motorists recently.
I work with many small businesses in the town centre and have yet to meet one owner who believes the new measures will improve things – all fearing they will make things worse.
Please listen to the people before making a decision which will make life a misery for many who rely on people having easy access to the town centre to carry out their business.
I look forward to our highway planners hopefully adopting some common sense – and please don’t just spend money because you have got to – spend it wisely.

Fears proposed town centre road changes will impact trade for struggling local businesses


About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 40 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with three in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Director Warrington Chamber of Commerce Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.


  1. Well said. Trying to right turn out of central way navigating buses, pedestrians, cyclists, taxis and traffic including is a nightmare at the best of times and will be worse still when the new apartments open on John Street. I simply dont understand the logic of forcing traffic onto already congested Froghall / Piners Brow and Lythgoes. High streets need to be doing all they can to encourage footfall, movement and shoppers, including those popping in, not creating an island that can only be accesed via Midland Way and Mersey Street. I increasingly shop at Widnes simply because its easier to pop in for a few bits and the parking is free.

  2. Getting out from an appointment in Museum Street towards the west is also impossible without dangerous crossing on Wilson Patten Street or going all the way round via the Car Park that the Central Expressway has become as Midland Way. They tried this on the original plot for the slutchers lane one-way, it got thrown out because it didn’t work.

  3. Pingback: Plan to make town centre COVID-19 traffic measures permanent will create even more rat runs! – Gary Skentelbery | Warrington Gazette

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