Work to re-open Ashington’s main shopping street to traffic is entering its final stages.
The aim of the six-month project on Station Road is that it will result in a boost to local trade, improve the look of the street and help deliver wider economic benefits as part of the on-going regeneration of the town centre.
Plans were drawn up by Northumberland County Council after extensive consultation with Ashington Town Council, the Town Team, traders and residents.
The current pedestrianisation of Station Road dates from the early 1990s and was introduced in an effort to help stimulate local trade, but the local authority said it became clear from the feedback that the time was right to re-evaluate the street and its use.
Work started in May and the street is now set to re-open to traffic in early December – one-way westbound from Grand Corner.
There will be 30 on-street parking bays and six disabled parking spaces. The bays will be restricted to 30 minutes parking, with no return for two hours, while the disabled spaces will have a two-hour limit.
The street will be a controlled zone, which means that there will be no waiting or loading at any time except in these marked bays.
Coun Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services, said: “This £1.5million scheme will provide a number of advantages and it’s great to see it nearing completion.
“Station Road will benefit from increased passing trade, which in itself should help to improve the viability and quality of high street retail and services in Ashington.”
The street has been designed to be a low speed environment for local traffic and there will be a speed limit of 20mph on the new road.
The weekly market will be maintained on the street each Tuesday. This will be sited on the north side of the road, where new ‘pop-up’ style stalls will be introduced.
Ashington councillor Brian Gallacher, who is also on the town’s steering group, said: “As the scheme nears completion, it’s already looking impressive – with new trees, plants and benches being installed.”
To complement the work, the rear of Station Road both north and south will be resurfaced in December.