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CIVIC SOCIETY OBJECTS TO ‘BACKWARD STEP’ PLANS FOR HISTORIC KIRKGATE

18th June 2010
Ripon Civic Society has criticised plans by North Yorkshire County Council to replace the block paving on part of the city’s historic Kirkgate with a standard road surface, saying doing so is a short-term solution that will mask a greater problem – the use of the street by heavy and unsuitable traffic.

In a letter to NYCC’s Highways department, the Civic Society acknowledges that there is a problem with the blocks and that something needs to be done, but says that the cause of the damage should be addressed, rather than trying to solve the problem in the way the Council proposes.

The Society says that the movement of the blocks is caused by the continued passage of vehicles that are unsuitable for the small streets of the city. In particular, it criticises the routeing of the No 36 bus down the upper part of Kirkgate and Duck Hill, which it calls ‘the most damaging of all the vehicle movements in the city.’

A different route for the bus, and for heavy goods vehicles, which avoids that section of the city, should be sought, says the Society. That would enable to blocks to be reset more securely and with lighter traffic they should be up to the job and much more visually attractive. The Civic Society has proposed changes to the city centre traffic flow that would achieve this.

David Winpenny, Chairman of Ripon Civic Society, says, ‘It is only a few years ago that a great deal of money and effort was expended in trying to make the streets of Ripon more attractive. In particular, the Market Square and Kirkgate were repaved to make a visual link between the historic core of the city and the Cathedral. Replacing part of that route with an ordinary black road surface would cut that link and be a backward step. It would be to deny all the progress that the city has made.

‘Instead, we now need to look forward and implement plans that will greatly reduce the amount of traffic in the city. We should not be suggesting short-term solutions that do nothing for the look and well-being of the city.’

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