Calls for review over Close traffic flow trial

First published in News Salisbury Journal: Photograph of the Author by

EXPERTS have warned that a pilot scheme changing the traffic flow through Salisbury’s Cathedral Close could lead to accidents and congestion and should be postponed.

Close resident George Apter hired traffic consultants Badingham Ltd to assess the measures, due to be trialled from August 4 to 30.

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

Drivers will use St Ann’s Gate to enter the Close instead, and the only exit will be the Harnham Gate.

The consultants have told Wiltshire Council, the highway authority, that “significant issues” have not been addressed.

St Ann’s Gate was originally closed to traffic because it was too dangerous, they say. It is heavily used by tourists getting off coaches, and by schoolchildren, and is part of the National Cycle Route. No signs are planned to warn pedestrians or cyclists about the new traffic.

At the High Street Gate, signs proposed by the council will say it is closed from 1pm to 6pm and tell motorists to use St Ann’s Gate during those hours.

There will be no directions round the one-way system for visitors.

And when the High Street Gate is open, on Saturdays after 4pm and on Sundays, there are concerns drivers will still think they have to go to St Ann’s Gate, which will be closed to traffic.

All this is “likely to result in drivers becoming distracted, which will increase the likelihood of collisions”, say the consultants.

Delivery lorries will be unable to get into the Close because only the High Street Gate is big enough.

And people living in the area fear they could damage the historic stonework of St Ann’s Gate. Signs designed by the council state that there is a height limit of 2.65m and width limit of 2.5m, but a vehicle that size will not fit.

The consultants also warn that the St Ann Street/Exeter Street junction will need to be altered, as the current lights and signs make it illegal to drive through the gate. They say no information has been given about access to the Close for the emergency services in the long term. And they say there should be a safety review before any trial begins, assessing the impact on key junctions during term time.

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “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. The initial month-long pilot will be closely monitored by Wiltshire Council and the cathedral authorities.”

Comments (5)

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10:40am Fri 25 Jul 14

Old Salisbury Boy says...

Simple solution is to build a new gate off the Exeter st roundabout as was suggested when the roundabout was built!
But the Dean at the time refused to even consider the proposal as it would encourage traffic to use The Close!
Simple solution is to build a new gate off the Exeter st roundabout as was suggested when the roundabout was built! But the Dean at the time refused to even consider the proposal as it would encourage traffic to use The Close! Old Salisbury Boy
  • Score: 8

11:40am Fri 25 Jul 14

Bournemouth Ohec says...

Here are some suggestions for improving the situation in Salisbury;

Switch off the traffic lights outside of rush hour on the roundabouts around Churchill Way etc.

Ensure that the phasing of lights in and around town reflect the volumes of traffic.

Sort out the bizarre situation whereby lights turn red for no apparent reason.
Here are some suggestions for improving the situation in Salisbury; Switch off the traffic lights outside of rush hour on the roundabouts around Churchill Way etc. Ensure that the phasing of lights in and around town reflect the volumes of traffic. Sort out the bizarre situation whereby lights turn red for no apparent reason. Bournemouth Ohec
  • Score: 11

2:14pm Fri 25 Jul 14

journalist1 says...

I see that the builders involved in the bus accident this week were repairing damage where a lorry had previously hit a building on the corner of St Ann Street. Doesn't bode well for the plan to put all traffic entering the Close through the St Ann's Gate!
I see that the builders involved in the bus accident this week were repairing damage where a lorry had previously hit a building on the corner of St Ann Street. Doesn't bode well for the plan to put all traffic entering the Close through the St Ann's Gate! journalist1
  • Score: 12

4:44pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Grampie says...

Persuade parents ferrying their children to and from the schools in the Close to use the Park and Ride
Persuade parents ferrying their children to and from the schools in the Close to use the Park and Ride Grampie
  • Score: 6

9:11pm Sat 26 Jul 14

HappyChappie15 says...

Can anyone explain why this proposal is being given any credence? What are the perceived benefits of this pilot? What is the advantage of directing traffic through the St Ann's Street gate, which has for decades been a pedestrianised access to the Close? Is the gateway accessible to delivery lorries? Has consideration been given to the risks to children who access the Close for schools? How can vehicles access this gate without contravening the controlled traffic light system? Unbelievable!
Can anyone explain why this proposal is being given any credence? What are the perceived benefits of this pilot? What is the advantage of directing traffic through the St Ann's Street gate, which has for decades been a pedestrianised access to the Close? Is the gateway accessible to delivery lorries? Has consideration been given to the risks to children who access the Close for schools? How can vehicles access this gate without contravening the controlled traffic light system? Unbelievable! HappyChappie15
  • Score: 8

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