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Southwell Town Council planning committee raise concerns over how King Street closure scheme has been presented to Via East Midlands

The handling of discussions for a weekend road closure has been questioned.

Southwell Town Council has long been campaigning for a Saturday closure of King Street, in the town centre, to create a pedestrianised shopping space.

However, a report of a recent meeting with Via East Midlands presented to the planning committee on Wednesday (February 7) sparked debate over the way the scheme had been presented and discussed with the highways authority.

View up King Street, Southwell.
View up King Street, Southwell.

The council heard from committee chairman Jeremy Berridge, who with Malcolm Brock represents the council in meetings with Via, that they were “not there yet” but that the “gap is closing” between the town and county council over the scheme.

Members of the committee raised concerns over a note in the meeting minutes, which detailed a suggestion of manned, remote controlled, retracting bollards to enforce the closure.

Councillors noted that it appeared to have been suggested by Mr Berridge himself, which he did not deny.

Roger Blaney additionally noted that it seemed to come at a cost of £5,000 a year to the council.

Mr Blaney said: “We should not have made this suggestion to them. I just don’t understand why we made such a proposal… if [key pad operated bollards] work in Newark, why not in Southwell.”

Steve Perry also shared these concerns and said a manned bollard was not what the council wanted.

Mr Berridge responded that the scheme was still being talked through, and was not at the point of a concrete proposal.

He suggested the bollards in Newark’s Market Place were known to be faulty — which Mr Blaney said he would like to see evidence of.

Additional concerns were raised by Gina Adams, who questioned the practicality of a bollard blocking King Street west of One Stop.

She explained how drivers had struggled to do u-turns in the area when she manned the barrier during the temporary closure for the Christmas market.

Mr Berridge offered reassurance that the council and Via were “still exploring parts of the scheme”.

Southwell Town Council is set to meet with Via to discuss the scheme again on February 20.

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