Earlier this year, we made several temporary changes to the road layout in the town centre as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.

These schemes – designed to remove through traffic and increase active travel – were funded through the government's Emergency Active Travel Fund [EATF], and support our fourth Local Transport Plan (LTP4).

The road layout before the temporary changes

The following plan illustrates some of the 'through routes' used by motorists to cut through the town centre before our temporary changes. 

These through routes increased traffic volumes and speed, as well as negatively impacting noise and vehicle emissions. 

 

The road layout after the temporary measures

In June 2020 we implemented emergency measures to the road layout of the town centre in response to the pandemic. Since those changes, we've monitored different elements of those temporary changes and have made some modifications. 

The current alterations in place are as follows: 

  • A left-turn ban except for cyclists at the junction of Winmarleigh St and Sankey St
  • Access-only restrictions at the junction of Sankey Street and Bold Street
  • The reversal of the one-way system along Bold Street (between Wilson Patten Street and St Austins Lane) with the introduction of a contra-flow cycle lane
  • No exit from Barbauld Street onto Wilson Patten Street
  • A shorter pedestrian/cycle crossing on Wilson Pattern Street at Bridgefoot Island
  • The prohibition of westbound traffic between Academy Way and Bridge Street
  • Installation of additional cycle parking at various locations around the town centre

 

    With these adjustments, we've not only aimed to reduce the impact of traffic in the town centre, but they're also consistent with two essential documents we recently published:

    • Town Centre Masterplan
    • Central 6 Masterplan
    Temporary one way changes
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    Active travel consultation
    Town Centre masterplan

    This plan sets out a vision to create a town centre that's unique, safe, vibrant, green and colourful – a great place to live, work, do business and enjoy. 

    The plans include improving streetscapes within the town centre to support more significant levels of town centre living and creating a less car-dominated environment.

    Image
    Town Centre masterplan
    Central 6 masterplan

    The Central 6 Masterplan project developed a long-term masterplan for the whole of Warrington's central area. This masterplan was fully informed and led by the community and residents experiences and ideas. 

    Several key themes set out in the masterplan are relevant to the town centre, in particular:

    • Theme 1 - inclusive, safer, greener streets
    • Theme 3 - well connected and affordable movement

    The first two stages of consultation also showed strong community support for the following:

    • Better connected dedicated cycle routes both locally and connected to long-distance routes
    • Modal shift (reducing the number of trips by car) for the final mile into the town centre
    • Traffic calming and enforcement in residential areas
    • More segregated cycle paths
    • Measures to reduce reliance on cars
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    Central 6 masterplan

    Making the changes permanent

    After monitoring the effects of the temporary schemes over the last few months, we propose that several schemes are formalised and made permanent. 

    We'll fund these schemes using a second tranche of the Active Travel Fund, recently awarded by the government. The projects we're proposing to retain have been successful at reducing through movements and promoting active travel within the town centre. Furthermore, they meet the objectives of both Warrington's Local Transport Plan and the government's EATF guidance.

    Making the measures permanent would involve making permanent Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) for the restrictions and replacing the temporary cones, barriers and signage with permanent changes. We'd implement this by using physical measures such as build-outs, refuges, signs and lining installed permanently.

    The installation of permanent physical measures will allow the actions to easily understood by drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, as well as providing an enhancement to the streetscape in these areas.

    Scotland Road improvements

    We're proposing to remove the restriction near the bus interchange on Winwick Street and instead, install a bus gate along Scotland Road between the junctions with Cockhedge Way and the Cockhedge Retail Park car park. The bus gate would allow access for buses, taxis and cyclists in both directions, but prevent access for other vehicles. We'd also look to remove the existing bus lane northbound to support these proposals. Our suggested modifications to the junctions surrounding the bus gate are as follows: 

    • Access into and out of Cockhedge Retail Park car park would be via Winwick Street and Scotland Road from the north
    • Access into Cockhedge Way would be via Scotland Road from the south

    The bus gate will provide cycling and pedestrian facilities.

    We're not proposing to make any further changes to the east end of Sankey Street and the north end of Bold Street at this time. However, the existing permanent Access Only Order and temporary removal of parking bays on Sankey Street will be retained, subject to review.

     

    Summary

    Our proposed permanent measures intend to: 

    • Retain vehicle access for residents, visitors and business into the town centre areas
    • Reduce the volume of through traffic which improves traffic flow and speed, creating a more attractive environment
    • Create road conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, which are more engaging and will support the long term aims to promote greater levels of walking and cycling

    In the longer term, our objective is to use these measures as the first step towards a more comprehensive environmental enhancement scheme for the town centre, similar to the improvements seen in other towns and cities such as Frodsham Street in Chester or Fishergate in Preston.

    The intention is not to restrict access to the town centre for those people who live, work or visit. Instead, it's to remove unnecessary through traffic. 

    Our plan illustrates how the implementation of these measures will allow traffic to circulate within the town centre.

     

    Our proposed permanent changes
    1. Scotland Road Bus Gate, permitting access by bus, taxi and cycle
    2. Reversal of one way system on Bold Street, with cycle flow allowed in the opposite direction
    3. No vehicle access (except for cyclists) from Barbauld Street onto Wilson Patten Street
    4. Left turn not permitted (except for cyclists) from Winmarleigh Street to Sankey Street 
    5. Restrictions on Academy Way to remove westbound through traffic, except cycles and creation of loading bay on Moulders Lane
    Timescales

    The current temporary schemes will remain in place until we're in a position to implement the infrastructure permanently.  The delivery of the projects is subject to the approval of the relevant Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs), which will be informed by the statutory consultation process outlined below. 

    Subject to completion of the design and procurement processes and successful progression of the TROs, we're proposing to make the schemes permanent by March 2021.

    Further information

    If you'd like further information regarding the proposals, please email eatf@warrington.gov.uk

    If you'd like to request a phone call with one of the officers, please email eatf@warrington.gov.uk providing your contact details and nature of your enquiry.

    Have your say

    We're keen to know your views on these proposals and invite you to respond in either or both of two ways:

    Feedback for a Consultation Report

    If you have general comments you would like to make on the proposals; please email us at eatf@warrington.gov.uk. We'll be collating the feedback and documenting the various themes of people's responses, both positive and negative. 

    We won't include your contact details in our consultation report, which we'll prepare once the consultation has ended.

    We'll use the consultation report to provide background context to the Traffic Committee on people's views about our proposals.

    If you ask us a specific question, we'll aim to respond within five working days during the consultation period.

    Formal Response to Traffic Regulation Order consultation

    Should you like to formally support or object to the legal orders out for consultation, then you can do so via our Traffic Regulation Orders webpage

    You'll find the details under the three relevant orders, which are:

    • Town Centre – various Revocations & Moving Restrictions –Order
    • Scotland Road – Bus Gate – Order
    • Traffic Management – Amendment No.35 - Order

    Here you'll find the detailed order schedules along with plans showing the extent of the proposed restrictions and associated signage. You'll also find instructions on how to make your formal representations to Legal Services either in writing or via email. 

    The consultation period is from Thursday 26 November until Thursday 24 December 2020.