Wellingborough road returns to access only due to near misses

Wellingborough's Market Place
Wellingborough's Market Place

A town centre road is to return to being access only after a number of near misses between pedestrians and vehicles.

Drivers are being warned that the road at the top of Wellingborough’s Market Square is for access and disabled parking only, and can no longer be used as a through road.

Bollards and signs have been put in place to prevent people using the private road as a rat run, but some drivers are still attempting to use the cut-through.

They then have to reverse out when faced with the bollards, causing gridlock.

The road - which leads from Orient Way across the top of the market place - was temporarily opened up as a one-way street to allow access to Market Street via Whitehorse Yard when improvement works were carried out at Gloucester Place a couple of years ago.

Once the works were finished the private road remained open, but the decision has been taken change it back to access only.

Wellingborough Council took the decision after reports of near misses between pedestrians and vehicles.

Cllr Tim Allebone, chairman of the council’s market working group, said: “The road is a private road and is designed to only offer access to the market and town centre disabled parking.

“We opened it up when roadworks closed Gloucester Place, so it could be used as a temporary route for deliveries and emergency vehicles, and we kept it open for a while after the works finished as people seemed to appreciate the convenience and it was used sensibly.

“In recent months, however, there’s been an increase in the number of people complaining about drivers using the road, and several incidents have been reported where pedestrians have had a narrow escape.

“The problem is that more and more drivers are using the road and they’re using it as a speedy cut-through, without the necessary care and caution we’d want them to take.

“We can’t put the safety of pedestrians at risk so we’ve had to make the decision to stop it being a through road.

“What we need to do now is make sure people realise this so they stop trying to drive straight across the top of the market and down onto Market Street.

“There are clear signs and road markings, but we’re still getting people driving into the road and having to back out again.

“The road has reverted back to a two-way route, meaning that people who park in the bays do have to exit the way they came in, that is back onto Orient Way, but these are the only drivers that should have to do that.”