THE traffic flow experiment through Salisbury’s Cathedral Close ends this weekend with opinion divided on whether it has been a triumph or a flop.

It will be October before the first report is published about the month-long trial, which has proved controversial from the outset.

The system, designed to ease traffic congestion in the close, was introduced on August 4.

It involved closing the High Street Gate to vehicles from 1pm to 6pm Monday to Friday and from 1pm to 4pm on Saturdays.

At these times drivers have been using St Ann’s Gate to enter the close and the only exit was via Harnham Gate.

Critics of the experiment have engaged a traffic consultant, Badingham Ltd, to monitor the progress of the scheme.

Cathedral Close resident, George Apter, claims the system is not safe.

“A pedestrian was resting on the pavement underneath St Ann's Gate at approximately 2.55pm on Tuesday August 19.

"When he got up he was hit by a silver Audi being driven through the arch. Fortunately he did not appear to be injured,” Mr Apter told The Journal.

Other concerns have been raised about poor signage.

Regular users of the High Street Gate have complained about the number of vehicles making three-point turns in the narrow street after they realise, too late, that it is closed to traffic in the afternoons.

Before the pilot scheme, St Ann’s Gate was closed to traffic but it is heavily used by tourists disembarking from coaches and by schoolchildren.

It is also part of the National Cycle Route.

A Wilshire Council spokesman said at the start of the pilot scheme: “The cathedral's authorities have worked with us to design a scheme to help with the traffic situation in the close, particularly in preparation for the Magna Carta event next year.”

A spokesman for Salisbury Cathedral said after Saturday, the traffic system in the close will revert to normal and traffic consultants ADL will review and evaluate all the feedback gathered during the experiment. The cathedral has feedback opportunities scheduled for different stakeholders, which can be viewed on their website

“There have been strong views expressed on this scheme but it needs a professional look at those responses whether or not they are positive or negative,” he said.

The report will be published in the autumn, when it will be shared by the cathedral, and will include the issue of signage and advanced warning for motorists.

Shopkeepers, road users and pedestrians will all be anxious to see the recommendations.

A recent survey showed more than 5,000 pedestrians and 1,700 vehicles enter the Cathedral Close each day, most of them through the High Street Gate.