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Councillors will discuss changes to Newbury traffic routes and the removal of buses from the town centre this week

CRUNCH talks will take place on Thursday (13) to significantly alter the way traffic moves through Newbury town centre.

West Berkshire Council's Executive is expected to rubber stamp a number of changes to traffic flows in the town, including the removal of buses from the town centre, and the Park Way bridge becoming two-way, following almost a year of consultation with local organisations.

The move will create a virtually traffic-free environment during the day, with access only for emergency vehicles, security vans and postal services.

Over the past 11 months, consultations have taken place with groups including the Newbury Town Centre Partnership, Newbury Retail Association, the West Berkshire Disability Alliance and representatives of the local taxi associations and bus companies.

The feedback will be debated at the meeting, and if the changes are approved, they would be introduced to coincide with the opening of the new Parkway scheme - the new shopping hub in Newbury town centre - scheduled for October 2011.

Under the proposals, motorists will no longer be able to use the bridge, as they can currently, in a southbound direction but will instead have to travel along the A339, with the bridge being for exclusive two-way use by buses and cycles, and also by taxis.

The town's automatic rising bollards will remain in place under the plans, but the pedestrian zone end time will be altered from 6pm to the earlier time of 5pm, meaning that taxis and cars will then be able to use the roads in Newbury town centre during the evening, as they can now.

West Berkshire's executive member responsible for highways and transport, David Betts (Con, Purley-on-Thames), thanked the local groups for their in-put.

“We have considered all of the suggestions and I feel that we have a good scheme that takes account of the needs of transport operators and will make the town centre even more attractive to shoppers and visitors,” he said.



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