Driving home from work on Monday I decided to pop into Bury town centre first to run some errands. Once my jobs were done it was time to drive home, via Abbeygate Street. This is a route I often take, but it’s not always an easy one.
Monday was particularly tricky. Greggs is undergoing a refurbishment, meaning the pavement outside it is blocked off. On the other side of the road a Transit van was parked outside White Stuff. I was negotiating this slowly, but the manoeuvre was made more difficult when a group of pedestrians squeezed between Greggs and my slow-moving vehicle.
This is no criticism of the pedestrians – what else were they supposed to do? – but an example of how using Abbeygate Street, whether as a motorist or on foot, is not always uncomplicated.
Currently the street is pedestrianised on weekdays from 10am-4pm, with through traffic from High and Lower Baxter Streets allowed to cross. The county council is planning to launch a consultation on these arrangements to see whether they should remain as they are, or change.
Given I am a selfish creature of habit I would be sad to see one of my regular routes closed to traffic completely, however I do accept the current arrangement does not work. It is decades since the restrictions were introduced and in that time our town has embraced café culture. Many coffee shops and eateries in Abbeygate Street now have chairs and tables outside which don’t make it easy for pedestrians once the road opens fully to traffic at 4pm. Add advertising A-boards and delivery lorries in to the mix and it becomes even more confusing to negotiate. Many a time I have driven down Abbeygate Street only to find pedestrians meandering in the middle of the road, oblivious to the fact the street is not pedestrianised after a certain time. I’m not sure what the solution is, but I’ll be interested to see the results of the council’s consultation.
Show week update: In my last column I spoke about my foray into am-dram and being all-consumed by Jesus Christ Superstar, which was on at the Theatre Royal last week.
Thank you to all who came to see it. We had some sell-out audiences and excellent feedback. I’d like to say I’m back to Earth now, but alas I am still on a post-show emotional high even if my body feels broken by the experience!