New pedestrian area has teething problems

The top of the newly developed Market Street in Kettering town centre after its first stage of completion.
The top of the newly developed Market Street in Kettering town centre after its first stage of completion.

Motorists driving round bollards, near misses between cyclists and pedestrians, and cars driving in the wrong direction on one-way systems are the issues a council is facing with its newly pedestrianised town centre.

A report into Kettering’s Market Place and Market Square’s pedestrian-only areas has highlighted some teething problems.

The newly redesigned area has been complete for just three months, and Kettering Council has said it will conduct a full review into the effectiveness of the operation, but issues have been found already.

A report going before the council highlights that vehicles have been spotted driving incorrectly up the one-way Market Street.

It has also revealed there have been issues with smaller cars being able to drive round bollards to access the street.

In addition, confusion over a number of cyclist signs has resulted in a number of near misses between bikers and pedestrians.

But Cllr Terry Freer, who is on the Kettering Town Forum, has said he regards the problems which have been encountered as fairly minor.

He said: “I don’t think people are used to the revamp.

“For generations, people could drive through the town centre.

“It seems one or two are finding a way around it being pedestrianised.

“Or, perhaps people have got lost and have found themselves going the wrong way in one-way systems.

“But we’ve got plans in place to solve these issues.

“This could mean moving around the street furniture, re-positioning the bollards, or changing the signage.

“I think we’ve been left with more cyclist signage than we need, and that’s certainly something we need to take a look at.

“But overall, I think the project has been very successful.

“And from what we’ve heard, the retailers are happy with it.”

The regeneration project resulted in a Traffic Regulation Order for Market Street being approved.

This means that all traffic is prohibited except loading and unloading by the street’s traders, emergency vehicles, cyclists, and blue badge holders between 10am and midday on weekdays.

Cllr Freer has also told the Evening Telegraph there are issues with illegal parking in the town centre.

He added: “Illegal parking is a big, big issue, because people who have no right to be there do it because they can.

“We only have one fully qualified traffic warden and we’ll be working with the relevant authorities to try to get more traffic wardens.

“I’ve got a team together working on improving the town centre in the next few months.”