Residents and businesses in Ashington have this week had the chance to look at plans for the future layout and use of the town’s Station Road.
Northumberland County Council has held drop in events at Wansbeck Square where people could find out more about the options that have been considered, and have their say.
Taking on board previous feedback and the views and needs of businesses and residents, the council has looked in detail at three options.
Working with Ashington Town Council, the Northumberland development company Arch, town councillor and the town team, the council is working to re-establish Ashington town centre as a thriving heart to the town, and to improve the vitality of Station Road.
Outcomes that people have said they feel are important are to open up the road to through traffic; to retain the Jackie Milburn statue and provide space for events, to provide flexible space for the weekly market, to provide on-street parking for shopping and to provide a bus service.
The three options that have been considered are retaining but upgrading a pedestrianised street; opening the street to two-way traffic; and the preferred option, of opening the street to one-way traffic, westbound.
The exhibition provided details of all three options and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Advantages of opening up the road to one way traffic include providing passing trade and 30 parking spaces on the street; allowing space to keep the market as well as allow other events to take place.
A bus service would be possible, with a bus stop on the street. There would be planting areas and seating, and the one way only traffic would allow space to be shared by pedestrians and cyclists.
Coun Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services at Northumberland County Council, said: “As part of long term regeneration proposals for Ashington we want to ensure the long term viability and vitality of this key shopping street.
“We have taken on board all feedback, and looked in detail at these three options. The one which seems to give the most advantages is re-opening the street to one way traffic. This will allow passing trade for shops and some parking spaces, but also leave enough space for the market and community activities, as well as retaining space that can be enjoyed by pedestrians.
Coun Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council and chair of Arch, added: “We think that this option will fit best with the wider regeneration plans for Ashington, but are very keen to make sure that everyone can have a view.
“We’d like to thank everyone who has provided their views to date, and encourage anyone who would still like to have their say to do this by February 5.”
Those who were unable to attend the events can see the exhibition on the council’s website at www.northumberland.gov.uk and comments can be made until Friday, February 5.
Following consideration of feedback from this exhibition it is intended to finalise the design of the preferred option during the spring, the improvement works carried out before the end of 2016.