By Ian Dipple Friday 21 September 2012 Updated: 24/09 17:09
REDDITCH Town Centre will be reconnected for the first time in more than 30 years under plans to open up Church Green.
Worcestershire County Council has given the go-ahead to removing the buses only restriction at the bottom end of Church Green West to link the town centre with Easemore Road.
It will be introduced on a 12 month basis, as an experiment to gauge public reaction, before being reassessed.
To ease concerns about increased traffic and safety, it is planned to install speed humps along Church Green West and Unicorn Hill to slow down traffic. But they will be bolted down so they can be removed to allow the Halfords Tour Series cycle race to take place or if it is decided to reinstate the buses only section.
A public consultation will take place around the roads affected and if there are no objections to the speed humps it is hoped the trial can begin at the end of November or early December.
Bus companies and emergency services have already been consulted on the plans.
The buses only restriction has been in place since about 1977 when it was introduced during the New Town development. The decision to remove it follows repeated complaints from residents.
It means vehicles travelling from the direction of Unicorn Hill will be able to drive straight through instead of having to divert along Church Road and use the ring road to get to the other side of the town centre. Residents living along and off Easemore Road will in future be able to go straight into town instead of having to use Archer Road or go down to the Sainsbury's island.
But the one-way system at the top of Prospect Hill will remain, so turning right into Church Green West will continue to be illegal, due to safety concerns.
Coun Brandon Clayton, who represents the town centre area on the county council and has been pushing for the move, said if it proved successful they could look at redesigning other junctions in the area to improve traffic flow.
"This was something which was introduced years ago but things have changed," he told the Standard.
"Residents have been asking for this, particularly along Easemore Road and in Abbeydale who have to travel around the town just to get to the doctor, and this is us listening and doing something about it.
"We know there will be concerns, which is why we've only done it for 12 months so we can listen and reassess, but we believe this is what people want.
"If we try and it doesn't work then we haven't lost anything, but at least we'll know."
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