Traffic wars - who will win battle of the high street in Skegness?

A popular shopping street in Skegness is set for part-pedestrianisation to promote safer cycling and walking - but many claim they had no idea about the scheme and want it stopped.

The Lumley Road corridor will see an 18-month trial of a traffic-free corridor along a section of Lumley Road to 'provide a safe, dedicated and pleasant space for pedestrians and cyclists in central Skegness as well as allowing traders increased outdoor space to operate'.

It is part of a wider plan including new cycle parking across the county and pop-up cycle lanes.

Coun Billy Brookes, the town's deputy Mayor, has taken up the gauntlet on the behalf of residents and traders to let Lincolnshire County Council and Skegness' county councillors "know how people are feeling".

Coun Billy Brookes has launched a petition against the part-pedestrianisation of Lumley Road.
Coun Billy Brookes has launched a petition against the part-pedestrianisation of Lumley Road.

He has launched a petition after receiving "countless calls" from people claiming they knew nothing about the consultation.

Coun Brookes describes the scheme as an "idealistic vision where businesses can make use of more space with thousands of cyclists making use of the corridor".

However, in the "real world", he says the residential roads where vehicles would be diverted would not stand the extra volume of traffic.

In response to calls from the public, Coun Brookes started his online petition on change.org - Stop the pedestrianisation of Lumley road, SkegnessHe said: "The pedestrianisation of Lumley Road in Skegness sounds like a wonderful idea, where businesses can make use of more space with thousands of cyclists making use of the corridor.

A scheme for the part pedestrianisation of Lumley Road in Skegness has met with a mixed response.

"Move away from the idealistic visions and reality sets in,

"Hundreds of cars are going to be diverted down side streets and alleyways. Our roads simply can't cope with this, much like when Roman Bank was closed the likes of Hoylake Drive look not too far from the set of a war film.

"Cycling may increase, however the majority of the users of Lumley Road are tourists, not many bring their bikes.

"I fully support more sustainable transport, so ideas like reinstating the Burgh le Marsh to Skegness cycle path would be welcomed.

"A lot of good could come from the grant money being offered. However, this does not cut the mustard for the residents of this town.

"Many people have said that they heard nothing about the consultation so never got the chance to have their say.

"The impact this will have on the surrounding streets will be huge.

"Visitors loves Skegness. For many the only way of getting here reliably is by car, because the trains are slow and outdated - as for the buses, the sun will have set before they arrive."

However, Lincolnshire County Council maintains the scheme was well-advertised and 57 per cent of the people who responded were in favour of it. Over 2,750 residents, businesses and organisations countywide completed the public consultation which was launched in March and ended on Sunday, May 16.

The Department for Transport (DfT) awarded Lincolnshire £799,900 to be used to give people more opportunities to choose walking and cycling for their day-to-day journeys, to boost active travel and reduce traffic congestion.

In the first round of the active travel fund, Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) received £105,500 with other schemes including the part-pedestrianisation of Horncastle Market Place.

LCC told the Skegness Standard the authority emphasised with all eight of the schemes that the trials would only go ahead if they had public support. and would be removed after the 18 months if they did not work.

Other prospective schemes in Boston, Mablethorpe and Spalding were not supported by the public, and will not be going ahead.

This proposed scheme for Skegness will create a traffic-free corridor along a section of Lumley Road although, as a result of the consultation, buses will be allowed access.

Lumley Road will be closed to other vehicles from the junction of Roman Bank/Wainfleet Road to the junction with Drummond Road.

The junctions with Beresford Avenue and Rutland Road will also be closed to through traffic accessing Lumley Road. Roman Bank, Wainfleet Road and Drummond Road will all remain open to motor traffic, as will the section of Lumley Road from the Clock Tower Roundabout to Drummond Road.

LCC say: "It is hoped this scheme will provide a safe, dedicated and pleasant space for pedestrians and cyclists in central Skegness as well as allowing traders increased outdoor space to operate.

"The closure will be implemented by using temporary infrastructure such as traffic planters.

"The scheme will initially be temporary for between a year and 18 months. After this time a decision will be made after further engagement with local residents and organisations whether to maintain it."

As the consultation shows, not everyone is against the scheme.

Owners of one of the newest cafes in Lumley Road said they knew nothing about the scheme but are in favour of it if it helps create more of a coffee culture in the town.

Chris Reynolds, general manager of Artisan Coffee Design, said: "I knew nothing about the scheme but I'm all for it if it means our customers will be able to sit outside and soak up the atmosphere - with just the odd bus passing by."

To sign the petition, visit 'Stop the pedestrianisation of Lumley Road, Skegness' at change.org here.