Road closure will 'cut Beverley in half': Flemingate to shut under southern bypass plan
CLOSING one of Beverley's busiest roads to through-traffic will "cut the town in half", it was claimed as a public exhibition on the town's £27m bypass scheme got underway.
As part of southern bypass plans, a section of Flemingate, including a railway level crossing, will be shut to vehicles.
Ward councillor Kerri Harold wants East Riding Council to assess the impact of the bypass on town traffic before going ahead with the Flemingate closure.
She said: "I have a grave concern about the closure of Flemingate, I think we would be cutting Beverley in half.
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"It would cut our own leisure centre off from the south end of Beverley. Locals would still find a way round but it would turn Eastgate and Trinity Lane into a rat-run.
"It could also send more traffic down Grovehill Road, which is already congested. It would make their lives hell."
Grovehill Road resident Debbie Fulton was among the first through the doors at yesterday's public exhibition at Beverley's Treasure House.
She said: "Grovehill Road is already terribly congested and I think the plans will just make it worse.
"They are also talking about building a supermarket off Grovehill Road which will lead to more traffic, it's just senseless."
East Riding Council officials accept closing Flemingate, between the level crossing and Eastgate, is controversial but they insist it is necessary to ensure local traffic uses the bypass.
Richard Lewis, principal engineer at the council, said: "We completely understand the concerns.
"We accept the closure of Flemingate crossing is controversial but some people are also very much in favour of it."
Mr Lewis said the Flemingate closure would go ahead after the bypass is built towards the end of next year or the beginning of 2015.
He said: "It will happen as part of the Beverley integrated transport plan.
"There is no need for the Flemingate closure until after the southern relief road is built and open but we do have to do it.
"It is part of the bid that we submitted to the Department for Transport.
"We have identified a need for it and an appropriate alternative route along Armstrong Way.
"The closure ensures through-traffic in Beverley uses the southern relief road."
But officials pledged the road closure in Flemingate would be monitored to ensure the benefits were effective.
Other highway changes will include introducing traffic lights at the Grovehill roundabout and a left-turn slip road at the Swinemoor roundabout for traffic from the A1035.
Routes in Beverley town centre will be re-classified from A roads to B roads.
Mr Lewis said: "In time, when maps and sat navs change, it will naturally take drivers around the outside of Beverley, rather than slap bang through the middle."
The long-awaited southern bypass will cut traffic past Beverley Minster by two- thirds and reduce through- traffic in the historic town centre.
Residents are urged to view the plans this week at The Treasure House.
As well as raising any concerns, Mr Lewis said it is also important for residents to show support for the scheme.
Mr Lewis said: "We are submitting our final bid for the scheme at the beginning of February and we anticipate it will be signed off by March.
"Please come along to the exhibition and give us your positive comments as well. It will all go in our favour when the Department for Transport has to decide to give us the money.
"The Department for Transport likes to know the money it is putting into transport schemes is well-received by the people."
The bypass is to be built between the A164 Morrisons roundabout and the A1174 Hull Road.
The plans can also be viewed online at www.eastriding.gov.uk and at Beverley Customer Service Centre in Cross Street.