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In pictures: Remember when motorists ignored the pedestrianisation of Northbrook Street, Newbury



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Motorists took little notice of the daytime vehicle ban imposed in Northbrook Street in 1998 leading to pedestrian rage and the installation of electronic bollards to act as a deterrent.

The road closed to traffic between 10am and 6pm on Friday, November 20, 1998, to coincide with the opening of the Newbury Bypass.

But motorists didn't seem too concerned, which enraged pedestrians.

Northbrook Street in 1990
Northbrook Street in 1990
In 1993 extensive work was carried out on the kerbs along Northbrook Street
In 1993 extensive work was carried out on the kerbs along Northbrook Street
Pedestrians and traffic mingle with street art in Northbrook Street in 1994
Pedestrians and traffic mingle with street art in Northbrook Street in 1994
Northbrook Street in 1997 when traffic was allowed to flow freely
Northbrook Street in 1997 when traffic was allowed to flow freely
Northbrook Street in 1997 when traffic was allowed to flow freely
Northbrook Street in 1997 when traffic was allowed to flow freely

A protest group decided to hold a cricket match in the middle of the street one Sunday afternoon, to stop cars driving through.

The Newbury Weekly News reported that one woman just sat down in the middle of the street to stop two cars continuing and 'received a round of applause'. And Inspector Sandy Nicholson of Newbury police said: "We have found elderly people slamming walking sticks on to the bonnets of cars and mums pushing their prams into the road."

Inspector Nicholson also said that one man had used his dog to keep cars at bay.

Former Lib Dem councillor Paul Walter made his protest by lying down in the middle of the road. He said: "At first, I started waving people down to explain... if they had been reasonable and said sorry I would have been more sympathetic, but they were quite bolshie. The easiest thing to do was lie down."

Playing cricket in Northbrook Street on a Sunday afternoon in January 1999 to keep drivers away
Playing cricket in Northbrook Street on a Sunday afternoon in January 1999 to keep drivers away
Playing cricket in Northbrook Street on a Sunday afternoon in January 1999 to keep drivers away
Playing cricket in Northbrook Street on a Sunday afternoon in January 1999 to keep drivers away
Daytime shoppers should be able to enjoy a traffic free zone in 1999
Daytime shoppers should be able to enjoy a traffic free zone in 1999
Northbrook Street is a traffic-free zone in 1999
Northbrook Street is a traffic-free zone in 1999

In January 1999, the newspaper ran an article warning that CCTV cameras could be used to catch motorists who 'persistently flout Northbrook Street's car ban'.

In March, the paper reported that on one Sunday alone the police gave out £20 on the spot fines to 72 drivers, including one councillor, Mrs Cheryl McAlinn, who said: "I am very sorry I did it. It was a momentary lapse of concentration."

In April 1999, it was estimated that electronic rising bollards could cost £24,000 to instal. By this time, TVP had issued more than 400 £20 fixed penalty fines to drivers.

Educating drivers about the new pedestrianisation rules in 1998
Educating drivers about the new pedestrianisation rules in 1998
Picture taken of traffic in Northbrook Street a year after the pedestrianisation rules had come in and 10 minutes into the time traffic should have cleared
Picture taken of traffic in Northbrook Street a year after the pedestrianisation rules had come in and 10 minutes into the time traffic should have cleared

On November 23, 1999, a year after Northbrook Street had been pedestrianised, NWN photographer Peter Bloodworth took a picture of a line of vehicles at 10.10am – 10 minutes after the traffic prohibition had come into effect, illustrating the extent of the problem.

In December 1999, the rising electronic bollards were introduced as a deterrent, but ironically the technician who was supposed to turn them on was stuck in traffic on the motorway, which delayed their switch on.

Drivers still tried to beat the system, tailgating buses, but they came a poor second to the bollards and many cars were ruined.

Click here for more nostalgia.



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