Pedestrianisation welcomed but long term fix is needed

The partial pedestrianisation of north of Horncastle Market Place has been welcomed – but some feel the milestone is long overdue.
Horncastle Market Place looking to St Lawrence Street EMN-200730-093051001Horncastle Market Place looking to St Lawrence Street EMN-200730-093051001
Horncastle Market Place looking to St Lawrence Street EMN-200730-093051001

The news was announced last week as part of the Department for Transport 
emergency active travel fund plans which saw £105,500 allocated to Lincolnshire County Council to support the installation of temporary projects during the recovery from Covid-19.

The county council has announced that some of the £105,500 will be spent on pedestrianisation of North of Market Place.

Councillor Bill Aron, 
ward member for Horncastle and the Keals, said: “ It’s great to see Horncastle’s Market Place included in our initial plans for the emergency active travel fund.

“Not only will pedestrianising the area create more space for people and make cycling safer, it will also help support local businesses and traders as they recover from the impacts of Covid-19.

“Initially, all the measures put in place with this funding will be temporary, but if a 
partially traffic-free Market Place proves successful, there’s no reason why it can’t be made permanent.”

Several councillors have also welcomed the news but some feel that more could have been done sooner to secure the partial pedestrianisation – something that the town council have been lobbying for for many years.

Speaking on an individual basis, town councillor Brian Burbidge said: “I am pleased to hear that the partial pedestrianisation of the Market Place has been 
accepted by Lincolnshire County Council .

“This will allow changes to be made to the Market Place and adjoining roads to help our local businesses recover from the coronavirus losses

“Whilst this will only be a trial, I believe it should be possible to make the changes permanent in the future and I am happy to give them my support.

“Whilst the current plan will not include St Lawrence Street it will show if there is a possibility for it to be included in the future.

“Please note this is my personal statement not the town council’s.”

Speaking on an individual basis, Councillor Dominic Hinkins said: “I’m very pleased to see that the pedestrianisation of the market place is going ahead.

“Closing the southern end of St Lawrence Street has been on the cards at least since the 2014 Neighbourhood Development Plan, if not longer, so this is long overdue.

“Anything that makes the town centre safer for cyclists and pedestrians is a good thing in my book – and hopefully it will come early enough to give residents a taste of summer ‘café culture’ we’ve been waiting for.

“We have to remain vigilant against a second spike of COVID, but eating and socialising outside is much safer than indoors, so this should give people more peace of mind as well as supporting local businesses at this difficult time.

“I look forward to many more such positive developments in the street scene in the future, and strongly urge the county council to make this permanent, which could be done for just the price of a few bollards.”

Speaking on an individual basis, town councillor Alan Lockwood said: “ I hope the
 pedestrianisation happens, I hope it has the effect that the traders desire, and if it does hooray!”

As previously reported, Councillor Lockwood revealed initial talks had been held with ELDC about opening up the Market Place into a Mediterranean-style plaza in a bid to help the town’s cafes, tea rooms and restaurants re-open during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The News contacted Lincolnshire County Council to ask whether full pedestrianisation of the Market Place could be on the cards in the future.

A spokesman said: “At present, this isn’t something we’re planning.

“However, if residents would like to see that – or any other changes to their streets to make walking and cycling easier – they should submit them through and we can look into them.”

Councillor Richard Davies, executive member for highways at Lincolnshire County 
Council, added: “Residents’ ideas will help us shape the future of our streets and ensure that any changes we make are the most appropriate and useful to the community.”