Plans drawn up by Via East Midlands to implement a temporary one-way system in Ruddington village centre, with the aim of improving traffic flow and providing extra parking, have been rejected by Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC).
It follows the short public consultation, on which we reported last month, to find out the views of residents and traders on introducing such traffic measures to help with COVID-19 safeguarding. Both Rushcliffe Borough Council (RBC) and Ruddington Parish Council (RPC) asked for these measures to be given due consideration as a way of mitigating the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic – to assist with social distancing, encouraging walking and cycling and aiding economic recovery.
But the proposals to provide additional, unlimited waiting, parking bays on The Green and introduce a clockwise one-way system around The Green, Church Street and High Street have both just been given the thumbs down.
However, NCC has approved the implementation of a 20mph limit for Ruddington village centre and also extended it to include Wilford Road as far as its junction with Manor Park. It says this will provide a safer environment for pedestrians – although off-peak parking on Dutton’s Hill will still be permitted. A similar, lower speed limit has just been approved in Radcliffe-on-Trent. The measures are being introduced through a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) with new signs to be erected in due course.
Councillor John Cottee, Chairman of the Communities and Place Committee at the County Council says: “I hope these measures will help support the local high streets and allow local people to continue to use them in a safe, socially distanced way. At the same time, these measures will allow local shops and businesses to safely operate. We will be monitoring these measures once they are in place and will review them as necessary.”
RPC had asked for an extension of four days to the consultation deadline to allow its Councillors to discuss it – since the proposals came out after the previous monthly Parish Council meeting but responses had to be submitted before the next one. When this request was refused by the County Council, Parish Councillors were advised by the Clerk that they were able to respond individually to the consultation instead. It’s reported that at least one of the Councillors then monitored local social media and sent a consensus of village opinion as their response.
Ruddington Village Centre Partnership declined to express an opinion either way on these proposals – again leaving it up to individuals to have their say. However, the failure to secure a one-way system to facilitate easier traffic flow, and enable the extra parking provision, comes as a disappointment to many in our village who’ve been calling for years for such a change to be made permanent.
Ruddington RBC Councillor Jennifer Walker comments: “Councillor Gaunt and I very much welcome the temporary lowering of the speed limit to 20mph and look forward to seeing a strategy of how this will be enforced throughout the village as post lockdown speeding and rat-running has again become a big problem. We are, however, very disappointed that the County have made the decision not to introduce a temporary one-way system and extra parking, as this would have made the biggest difference to the vibrancy and footfall on our cherished High Street.”
Fellow Labour Borough Councillor, Mike Gaunt, who’s also on RPC, adds: “As Councillor Walker points out, once again it is too little, too late for a Ruddington and a 20mph speed limit doesn’t go anywhere near far enough to meeting the needs of residents. It also suggests that the County doesn’t seem up to making the type of decisions or changes that this Pandemic demands for the sake of local business. From the information that we have received from Notts County Council, the majority of respondents to the consultation were in favour of the one-way system. This seems to suggest that the decision was made against the democratic wishes of Ruddington residents – which is very alarming indeed and certainly requires a detailed explanation.”
Resident Jessica McGowan agrees: “I know so many people that put in supporting comments on this – not one of which was ‘can we please have a 20mph speed limit’!” she says.
Andrew Shelley comments: “Again another decision made by non residents. It (the one-way system) worked so well before. It was safer and would have cut down on pollution.”
However, resident Meg Rose says: “So glad it’s been rejected. The village needs more parking but the proposed plan wouldn’t have solved that and would have caused even more problems for residents living in the centre of Rudd.”
Conservative Rushcliffe Borough Councillor Gary Dickman says it requires more work – or perhaps even a referendum in the village: “Why is the red herring of 20 mph speed restrictions on Kempson Street, Vicarage Lane, Elms Gardens and Shaw Street?” he asks. “Charles Street and the road in front of the cottages to the north of The Green should be, or remain, restricted access. This does nothing for the residents except cause more anxiety: is this just something thrown in as a sop? After all, the ‘Griffiths’ corner at the end of Distillery Street will have to be altered at some point to allow smoother traffic flow for the new Asher Lane residents. Like it or not, they are coming and will have to be accommodated and absorbed into our village.”
Cllr Dickman adds: “In my discussions with many residents the ideal scenario would be to pedestrianise the High Street from Mrs Thomas’s shop (now Philo’s) down to Hartley’s shop (now the estate agents) and allow access in the same manner as Central Avenue, West Bridgford, for public transport and servicing the shops. This would help prevent rat-running through the village, help the shopping environment, and allow more scope for the Village Centre Partnership to expand and develop the village into what it is – a small shopping and rural retail market a little like Bingham and Central Avenue. It will be a lot safer, too.”
Meantime, it’s been announced the work to install the new 20mph signage will be carried out by Via East Midlands from Monday November 2nd, in partnership with RBC as part of its ‘Reopening High Streets Safely Fund’.