Residents, businesses and visitors to Whitby are being encouraged to share their views on a trial to make Whitby Swing Bridge traffic-free on weekends and bank holidays.
Vehicles will be prohibited from using the Swing Bridge between 10.30am and 4pm on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays throughout the year.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said:
Easter weekend is the first time in 2021 we will see the Swing Bridge closed to traffic and we hope the benefits will be felt straight away.
There will be new signage to direct drivers to car parks with spaces which in turn will increase awareness of the times of the closures.
Over the last few years we have had to close the Swing Bridge to traffic at incredibly busy times due to safety concerns so we see this as a long-term solution.
We have now launched a survey and are inviting the public to share their views during the current trial to shape our plans going forward. I would stress that this is a trial and it will be reviewed before any decision is made about its permanence.
The traffic restrictions will be introduced under an Experimental Traffic Order which allows the public to comment during the first six months and allows some flexibility in the restrictions as the trial is taking place.
Although the original proposal was to implement the Swing Bridge restrictions for seven days a week, feedback from the first stage of consultation showed reduced days to be the preferred option until issues around public transport can be resolved.
Councillor Joe Plant, who represents Whitby Streonshalh, added:
We would like to thank everybody who shared their views in our initial consultation and encourage people to do so as the trial gets under way.
The huge number of visitors to the town on summer weekends and events forced us to act, and the issue has been magnified due to social distancing concerns. I hope we can all work together to find a permanent solution.
As part of the trial, there will be a turning area provided on Church Street using the Tin Ghaut car park and Grape Lane will be pedestrianised 10.30am to 4pm, year-round. These elements will be put in place as soon as possible after the Easter school holidays.
The existing daily March to September restrictions on St Ann’s Staith, Pier Road, Haggersgate and Khyber Pass will be extended to year-round.
The experiment could run for a maximum of 18 months and it is intended that it continues into the winter, with the earliest date for review likely to be around December 2021.
As the experimental period progresses, highways teams will continually monitor the situation and if necessary, make alterations to respond to changes in demand.
To take part in the survey and for more information about the measures please visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/whitby-swing-bridge.The deadline for comments is the end of September 2021.
The Whitby Town Deal Board has secured £400,000 of fast-track Government funding to pay for the infrastructure needed to carry out the trial, implemented by North Yorkshire County Council’s highways team.