Plan may be catastrophic

Please may I make a correction to your article '˜Premier Inn plan angers traders', (Berwick Advertiser, January 12)?

Friday, 20th January 2017, 8:00 am

The proposed closure of Drivers Lane is 30 weeks, not 30 days. We believe that the current proposals are based on incomplete and imperfect information so 30 weeks is likely to be the minimum.

It was a requirement of the planning permission for this build that Premier Inn submit a construction management plan. This was posted on Northumberland County Council’s planning website on December 16, with a 21-day response window, at a time when the shops in Berwick are at their busiest and council staff are on holiday.

As far as we are aware, the county council did not inform the town council, or advertise, or send notification letters to any of the properties who would be affected by the build.

It seems that Whitbread/Premier Inn will not consider alternatives, such as bridge scaffolding over Drivers Lane. Instead, it aims to widen the car park entrance and reconfigure the car park so that it is two-way throughout, with the entrance and exit both in Bridge Street.

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We believe that its computer-generated models do not show correct movement of vehicles, and they incorrectly show Bridge Street as one-way.

In the proposed reconfiguration, it is impossible for cars to drive in and out and through the car park, and manoeuvre in and out of spaces.

There appears to have been no attempt to recognise the type and volume of traffic typical of the street, this car park, or the safety of people on foot.

Delivery vehicles would not be able to access the YHA (Dewar’s Lane Granary). Emergency vehicles would not be able to access some Quay Walls properties.

Bin lorries would struggle to access bin collection points in the car park, including a large number of residential and commercial properties in Quay Walls, Dewar’s Lane, Sandgate and Bridge Street.

Two residential properties would not be able to access their own car parking spaces and garages on their own land. One of these requires disabled access by car.

It is our view that the car park could not be used to full capacity as physically getting into spaces looks impossible under the proposed reconfiguration.

Bridge Street is a vibrant commercial and residential street, which has seen a great deal of private investment in the individual shops, as well as the superb Dewar’s Lane Granary – an award-winning transformation by the Preservation Trust, which also upgraded the car park recently.

As a community, this part of town welcomes, encourages and celebrates change, variety, investment and growth.

Far from being negative, the Bridge Street Traders Association has put forward constructive and viable suggestions to Whitbread and Northumberland County Council to help manage the build with respect to local conditions.

Unfortunately, difficulty parking and driving through Berwick impacts quickly and catastrophically on small businesses, and sadly, at the moment, the county council seems committed to making parking and traffic flow more challenging throughout the town.

Bridge Street will soon be the latest casualty.

We would like to thank all the customers who use and enjoy Bridge Street for their continued support.

Liz Murray

On behalf of the Bridge Street Traders Association