It’s here to stay

Northwich’s trial gyratory system is here to stay after council bosses agreed to make it permanent.

The experimental one-way system through the town centre was introduced in January 2012 and set to be reviewed 12 months on.

At the meeting of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s (CWAC) executive group, held at Chester HQ on March 12, councillors heard it was vital to aid the regeneration of Northwich.

Cllr Herbert Manley, executive member for prosperity and ward councillor for Hartford and Greenbank, said: “We need this so we can do our development in Northwich, ensure Northwich as a town will grow, ensure value added there and growth both in jobs and in access to the new proposals we have for Barons Quay and Memorial Court.

“It’s part of the overall plan.”

Cllr Mark Stocks, executive member for education and children and ward councillor for Shakerley, said: “The infrastructure of Northwich doesn’t support the number of cars and this is not something readily resolvable.

“Over time the gyratory has improved access around town.

“I have to say it’s not ideal but the options aren’t there – we don’t have millions to create another access across the river.”

Cllr Stuart Parker, executive member for culture and regeneration and ward councillor for Chester villages, said: “Northwich is on the verge of significant redevelopment and doing nothing is not an option – we have to look forward.”

Cllr Amy Mercer-Bailey, ward councillor for Winnington and Castle, said she was personally against the system.

She said: “I don’t drive but I hitch lifts with different people and catch buses so I have a wider range of how different people and different sized vehicles deal with the system.  Residents find coping mechanisms to get used to it but people driving in for the first time still find it disorientating and confusing.”

She added: “I visit community groups and canvas the area and when I ask if there’s anything I can work on it’s shocking how many people bring up the gyratory.”

Cllr Julia Tickridge, councillor for Witton and Rudheath, listed a range of concerns.

“There’s traffic congestion, longer queues, lane-swapping to turn left which is absolutely lethal, not to mention the perceived waste of money and perception by traders that it’s affecting business,” she said.  “Town traders have said to me that it puts people off coming into town.”

She added: “Obviously there’s a need to increase capacity but the perception is that things are being done to Northwich rather than with Northwich.”

Supporters of the scheme on the committee said many of its problems would be ironed out once it was made permanent.

Cllr Mike Jones, leader of CWAC, said: “I think a lot will be resolved by proper signage then people will understand early on where they need to be.”

Taken from the Northwich Guardian  20th March 2013