Closure aims to stop town-centre rat-run
A rat-run is to be closed to traffic from tomorrow to keep pedestrians safe.
Cartergate will be closed at its junction with Appletongate, Newark.
Motorists have been using Cartergate, Baldertongate and Appletongate to avoid queues caused by the one-way system currently operating in the town as part of Severn Trent’s sewer improvement works.
The closure will remain in place until June 25, when the one-way system is due to have ended.
Drivers have been seen speeding along Cartergate, although it is pedestrianised.
They have been swerving around pedestrians, following closely behind them, and, in some cases, sounding their horns.
Access to Cartergate from Lombard Street for loading and unloading between 4pm and 10am will be unaffected, but vehicles entering the area will leave by Baldertongate, where the current one-way system will be reversed.
Traffic will be stopped from entering the pedestrian area from Baldertongate.
The closure was agreed between Nottinghamshire County Council, its highways contractor Via, Newark and Sherwood District Council, the police and Severn Trent.
The closure, which follows complaints from the public, will be enforced with barriers.
Businesses said they were optimistic the closure would keep people safer.
Mrs Nicola Mills, who co-owns N.V us Cards, Cartergate, said: “It is a constant stream of traffic past us and hardly any of it slows down.
“There have been arguments in the street because pedestrians have refused to move out of the way for vehicles.
“There are times where pedestrians have had to get out of the road quickly.
“It is a worry that particularly elderly people might not hear vehicles coming up behind them.
“Hopefully this will stop the problem.”
'Amount of traffic coming through is crazy'
The owner of The Curtain Mill, Cartergate, Mrs Theresa Miller, said: “Something needed to be done.
“The amount of traffic coming through there is crazy.
“There would have been an accident before too long.”
Mr Justin Clark, co-owner of Rich Furnishings, on Baldertongate, said: “Pedestrians are at risk — there is no doubt about that.
“There are motorists using the area illegally and they should go around like everyone else.”
Co-owner Mr Stewart Rich was concerned a further road closure could lead to a greater downturn in trade.
“The whole of Newark town centre is virtually closed,” he said.
“Customers aren’t coming into Newark. They get out of the habit of coming and when that happens it is difficult to get them back again.”
The county councillor for the area, Mrs Sue Saddington said: “People are in danger of being knocked down and I don’t think there is any option other than to temporarily alter the route for the safety of pedestrians.
“At the same time, however, we need to be sure that we can keep the shops operating and keep encouraging people to brave the roadworks and come into the town.”
Via traffic manager Mr Peter Goode visited businesses and found individual solutions for their delivery needs.
In a letter he hand-delivered to traders, he wrote: “The manner in which many of these drivers travel through this area is inappropriate for a pedestrianised street.
“Those traders with whom I have spoken have expressed support in principle for the action being taken.”
Mr John Cottee, chairman of the county council’s communities and place committee, said: “We have been concerned by the number of motorists using pedestrianised areas in Cartergate and Baldertongate as a rat-run.
“While we acknowledge the traffic delays in Newark currently, drivers using a pedestrianised zone in this way is completely unacceptable.
“We are grateful for the excellent support and co-operation we have received from businesses and I am pleased that we have been able to ensure temporary arrangements are in place for deliveries to all premises for the duration of the closure.”