Newcastle Low Traffic Neighbourhood to come to an end after 18 months

Bollards in the Heaton Low Traffic Neighbourhood, Newcastle Upon Tyne.Bollards in the Heaton Low Traffic Neighbourhood, Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Bollards in the Heaton Low Traffic Neighbourhood, Newcastle Upon Tyne.
The council insisted that it was “committed to working with communities to look at how we can make our neighbourhoods safer.

Another of Newcastle’s low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) is set to be scrapped.

City transport bosses have confirmed that they will remove bollards that have blocked drivers from using residential streets in Heaton as rat runs for the last 18 months.

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Newcastle City Council says that the restrictions will be lifted once their trial period expires on April 23.

A civic centre spokesperson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that local opinion on the measures had been “evenly split”, but that officials concluded that the bollards had resulted in too many vehicles being rerouted to other residential areas or back lanes – rather than to main roads.

Rumours that the bollards’ removal was imminent had been circulating over recent days, prompting a furious backlash from residents who had supported the scheme.

One local councillor called the prospect of reopening Heaton Park View to through-traffic a “completely retrograde step”.

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The move follows the axeing of the controversial Jesmond LTN earlier this year and one in Fenham last September.

Heaton had been the second area in Newcastle to have a low-traffic zone installed, with restrictions being put in place blocking access to Cardigan Terrace, Falmouth Road, Bolingbroke Street, and Heaton Park View in October 2022 with the aim of making it “much more attractive and safer for the people who live there”.

But the Labour-run council announced on Tuesday that it had “concluded that it would not be appropriate to make these measures permanent”.

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A spokesperson said: “Traffic data collated during the trial showed that, rather than using main routes, vehicles often used alternative residential streets, with Falmouth Road and Wandsworth Road particularly affected by an increase in traffic.

“A major concern was the fact that over 700 vehicles a day were found to be using the back lanes on Heaton Park Road. This creates a number of road safety risks as these lanes are not designed for, or expected to carry, this level of through traffic.

“There was also no data to suggest that there had been a significant shift to walking and cycling during the trial.

“Any reduction in traffic on some residential streets – notably Heaton Park View and Cardigan Terrace – instead led to the increase in use of back lanes and we know residents would agree that this is not what we wanted to achieve.

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“We have examined all 2,380 responses to the consultation and the views of residents were almost evenly split between those in favour of the measures and those against.”

Jonny Coates, a resident who lives within the LTN area, said he and neighbours had been “really concerned to hear that Heaton Park View might go back to carrying 3,000 cars a day”.

He added: “Before the recent changes this road was full of traffic queuing at the pinch points, creating a dangerous environment for our children. We are asking our political leaders to listen and to build on what we have rather than scrapping the changes at short notice and kicking this urgent issue into the long grass.”

Ouseburn ward councillor Mike Cookson, a Liberal Democrat, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that he wanted to see the LTN modified rather than completely removed.

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He said: “If you were to open Heaton Park View up to through traffic again it would be a completely retrograde step. We were getting 3,000 vehicles a day along there and I could easily see that increasing.”

The council insisted that it was “committed to working with communities to look at how we can make our neighbourhoods safer, cleaner and greener”.

It recently consulted with Heaton residents on two potential permanent schemes for the area – a re-opening of Heaton Park View or closing every through-route between Heaton Road and Heaton Park Road.

The local authority added: “We have already engaged with residents on other options for the Heaton area. That conversation will continue and we will use the feedback we have received to help shape revised proposals for Heaton which we will consult with residents on in due course.”

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