When will the trial start and how long will it last?

The trail schemes are being proposed using Experimental Traffic Regulation orders which can last between 6 and 18 months, during which time a decision is required as to whether or not to implement the changes permanently. If no decision is made within 18 months the order will lapse and any experimental measures removed.

In Westy, the trail started in June 2022, with measures subsequently being changed following a public survey in Summer 2022. It is proposed to monitor the current layout for a period of 6 months from November 2022 and to make a decision shortly after that period.

In Orford, revised proposals are being put forward for consultation and no decision has yet been made to implement any measures.

Where can I see the plans for my neighbourhood?

Plans are on the main Central 6 streets plan page.

How were Orford & Westy selected?

Previous local feedback through the ‘Central 6 Regeneration Masterplan’ raised concerns around road safety, air pollution and the quality of streets within these areas.

These areas were subsequently put forward as suggested pilot project areas as part of the funding bid to the Department for Transport for this project. At the beginning of this project, a comparison exercise was undertaken across all neighbourhoods in the Central 6 area, which compared conditions against several different criteria. This validated the selection of both Orford and Westy.

This initial set of interventions does not rule out investment in other areas in the future – we expect these pilot projects will develop into a programme of similar measures attracting further investment from government to support the transformation of local communities.

Can I still access my house by car?

Yes. All properties (including homes, businesses and community sites) will still have vehicle access, but routes may be slightly longer and less direct than at present. In some cases, people may need to adjust their usual routes. We anticipate that, in the vast majority of cases, changes to car journey times will be small.

Route planning and mapping companies (including satellite navigation providers) will be provided with updated information on road closures and diversions.

Will the emergency services be affected?

Cheshire Police, North West Ambulance Service, and Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service have all been consulted throughout the development of the LTNs – to ensure that the schemes provide a suitable level of access to all areas. All Emergency Services have confirmed that they have no concerns with the trial Westy LTN, and the previously proposed trial Orford LTN. Emergency Services also received advanced notice of the proposed changes to the LTN in Westy and the dates those changes will be made - to ensure that their GPS systems are up-to-date from the date of installation.

We are aware that Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service attended the Westy area in late June 2022, due to concerns raised by a local resident. Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service have subsequently again confirmed to us that they have no concerns with the trial Westy LTN scheme.

We are also aware that North West Ambulance Service have had some issues navigating the trial scheme in Westy. We are working closely with them to ensure their systems are up-to-date, to avoid these issues in future.

How will it be paid for?

We have been awarded funding from the Department for Transport, through the Government’s Active Travel Fund, tranches 2 and 3. Within these allocations approximately £230,000 is currently identified for the installation of local access improvements within the Central 6 area, with Orford and Westy identified as focus areas for experimental Low Traffic Neighbourhood treatments.

Where will the traffic go?

There is sometimes concern that ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’ will increase congestion and therefore pollution on surrounding roads. However, evidence from similar schemes elsewhere suggests this not to be the case.

In the short term, we do expect main roads to be busier than usual - but roads such as A49 Winwick Road (Orford) and A50 Kingsway S (Westy) are the appropriate routes for through-traffic and are intended for use by higher volumes of traffic unlike the adjacent residential streets.

In the medium term, we expect traffic patterns to settle as drivers adjust their routes, timings or change methods of travel. We will closely monitor the situation over the period of the trial, as part of a comprehensive monitoring plan for the project.

Aren’t there other ways of dealing with traffic issues?

The Central 6 streets plan is about much more than just traffic. It is about creating more attractive places to live with cleaner air, more welcoming places to walk or cycle, and safer environments for children to play. Where schemes of this nature have been implemented elsewhere in the UK, the results have been generally positive and well received by the people who live in the area.

There is limited scope to keep growing the space available for traffic, such as at key junctions and pinchpoints. We have been trying to do this for the last ~50-years, and it has largely not solved congestion – which is now increasingly being pushed on to residential streets and rat runs. Simply put, many of Warrington’s congestion issues are caused by too many short journeys being made by car. This project will help create the conditions for more short journeys to be made by foot or cycle (where possible) instead.

What will the impact on businesses be?

Similar schemes elsewhere have not reported any significant impact on business. Evidence suggests that business owners tend to significantly over-estimate the proportion of their custom arriving by car, when compared against walking and cycling.

The schemes have been designed to minimise any potential disruption to businesses. All businesses will still be accessible by vehicle, and we anticipate that streets with less traffic will result in more people walking and shopping locally.

Has an environmental impact assessment (EIA) been undertaken?

Environmental impact assessment (EIA) is not a statutory requirement for a project of this nature. We will however be closely monitoring environmental matters, including changes in air quality, throughout the trial period.

Similar schemes elsewhere have reported significant benefits to the local environment, including net improvements to air quality and noise, and reductions in fly-tipping.

Has an equalities impact assessment (EqIA) been undertaken?

An Equalities Impact Assessment (EqIA) has been produced for both Orford and Westy to assess and mitigate any potential disproportionate impacts for people with protected characteristics (as defined by the Equality Act 2010). The EqIA process suggests there are considerable net equality benefits to the schemes.

According to the assessment, the schemes have the potential to increase equality opportunities for several protected characteristic groups that live within the areas.

What consultation has been undertaken so far?

Winter 2021

The first phase of extensive public consultation was conducted in 2021. This was a two-stage process that included in-person events, online events, and online surveys. All information discussed at these events, and a report of findings, is provided on the main Central 6 Streets Plan page.

All addresses within the affected areas received two flyer letters notifying the occupier of public consultation events and ways to access the online surveys. This was completed in October and November 2021. Events and surveys were also marketed through our social media channels.

Summer 2022

An interim survey was then held between Monday 18 July and Sunday 11 September 2022 to collect feedback on the Westy LTN scheme gone live on the 20th of June. The survey aimed to gain an understanding of arising challenges and benefits following the implementation of the LTN – recording your level of support for the scheme overall, and whether there were any comments on specific locations.

The interim survey was advertised by a first letter drop to residents and businesses within the study area on the 13 of July 2022. A reminder of the survey opening, encouraging the public to submit feedback, was then delivered via a flyer to the residents on the 23 of August and published via the Warrington Borough Council Facebook page on the 30 of August.

Will any further consultation be undertaken?

Yes, there will be an ongoing opportunity to provide further feedback on the scheme(s) throughout the trial period. A new feedback survey for the Westy LTN will go live in early 2023 to allow us to understand how the revised scheme is working. This feedback will inform any future decision as to whether the scheme is made permanent or not.

Guidance on how to provide your feedback will be provided on these pages in due course and via a letter drop to all households and properties in the areas.

How will the scheme be monitored?

A comprehensive monitoring plan has been designed to ensure that all impacts of the scheme are robustly monitored, as far as is practicable. This will enable decisions to be made based on clear and accurate evidence.

Items that are currently being monitored include (but are not limited to):

  • Traffic levels (both within and outside the low traffic neighbourhoods).
  • Walking & cycling levels.
  • Highway journey times and congestion.
  • Air quality (both within and outside the low traffic neighbourhoods).
  • Feedback from services such as public transport operators, waste collection, and emergency services.

 A full Monitoring & Evaluation Report will be publicly available at the completion of the trial.

What will happen at the end of the trial?

The LTN measures have been implemented by a legal process known as an ‘Experimental Traffic Regulation Order’.  At the end of the trial period, all of the evidence collected, including public survey results will be presented to the Council’s Traffic Committee for consideration along with the representations made by the public both for and against the experimental Traffic Regulation Orders. The decision as to whether the scheme will be made permanent or not must follow a democratic process as outlined in national legislation in order for the decision to be legal. Warrington Borough Council’s Constitution delegates these regulatory powers to the Council’s Traffic Committee. This Committee is made up of elected Members.

What will happen to the LTN furniture at the end of the trial?

Once the trial period ends, if the schemes are to be made permanent then the current planters may remain or if necessary, replaced with an alternative design solution. If a decision is made to remove the LTN schemes entirely, then all LTN street furniture will be removed from the streets.  In either case, the temporary LTN street furniture will be recycled, reused or relocated within the Borough wherever practical - including planters, bollards and street signs.