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Healthy and General

Campaigners organise town hall protest to oppose Orford low

4 min read

CAMPAIGNERS opposing an experimental plan to reduce traffic at Orford have organised a peaceful protest outside Warrington town hall on Monday evening, ahead of the council’s Cabinet meeting.

More than 4,000 people have now signed a protest petition, with Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols also raising concerns, with many residents claiming they knew nothing of the proposals until they heard about them via media reports, or recent signage.

Key concerns of the Central 6 Traffic scheme are the introduction of a ‘bus gate’ and closing Hallfields Road to through traffic at Orford.

Campaign spokesperson Rachael Harper said: “Thousands of residents are against this, especially since we were not given appropriate consultation and the majority of us only found out about this through road signs and the local press three weeks prior to this being implemented on the 20th of June.

“The main concerns from residents are around Hallfields road/ in Orford being access only for buses and taxis, cutting out a through road that thousands of people use daily. This will consequently divert all traffic down the two busiest roads in Warrington (Winwick Road and Padgate Lane).

A sign warning of the new bus gate

“In the original consultation for the Orford area, only 77 people raised concerns of people using Hallfields Road and surrounding areas as a rat run through the road. In the second consultation, 84 people (the larger majority of people present) objected to the proposed plans.”

The public consultation plans can be found CLICK HERE

“In light of this I started a petition for Orford residents, and this quickly gained huge popularity online and has now received over 4000 signatures. It can be found here:- https://www.change.org/p/oppose-the-central-6-plan-for-orford-in-warrington

orford

(L-R) Cllr. Morgan Tarr, Cllr. Claire Lloyd-Fitzgerald and Cllr Helen Milner

“This was subsequently ignored when the three Orford Councillors issued a statement through the local press stating ‘The Orford Low Traffic Neighbourhood trial aims to address a number of concerns by residents living in and around the Orford Park Area. The Low Traffic Neighbourhood seeks to rebalance the streets by improving road safety and encouraging other methods of travel including walking and cycling. We welcome all feedback about the trial, good or bad and we would encourage residents to visit the main Warrington central 6 plan page where they find more information about the scheme and contact council teams with their concerns. For many years now the council has tried to fix road safety issues and rat runs with speed bumps and access only roads, but cars continue to flout the rules, break the law and risk people’s lives.’

Rachael added: “This is quite a statement given there has never been speed bumps, speed cameras or so much as a pedestrian crossing on Hallfields road despite there being a local school. It also ignores the fact that most residents (despite low numbers at public consultation) have been against these plans from the start.

“In response to this I then set up a public Facebook group for residents across Warrington who were in opposition to the plan, and this gained 3000 members in 24 hours. We are now closing in on over 4000 and expect that to grow more. From the group posts one thing became predominantly clear; that people need an outlet for their feelings on this. The facebook group (which is public for full transparency) can be found here:- https://www.facebook.com/groups/1145658036275644

“So with that in mind, I and some fellow people/ admins have organised a peaceful protest that is to take place next Monday 13th June outside Warrington town hall. This will start at 5:30 to coincide with the council cabinet meeting at 6pm (it will end around 6:30pm).

“I have given advanced notice to Warrington Police of the peaceful demonstration, and they are providing two community officers to assist. Given the amount of people who have shared and liked the post within the group in the last few hours, I am expecting at least a few hundred people to attend.”

Rachael concluded: “our main concerns regarding the scheme are as follows:-

-It will subsequently increase journey time for a lot of residents causing more pollution
-It will cause huge problems in people doing school runs and then getting to work due to the huge amounts of traffic using Winwick road and Padgate Lane at peak times
-It will impact on the local community where there is a new by residential care village and junior football matches nearby
-Local businesses have expressed concern on what impact this will have on them, I myself use the gym and hairdressers in the area and this will triple my journey time.

Meanwhile, posters are starting to appear in homes and premises throughout the area protesting about the proposed traffic changes.

MP raises concerns over controversial Orford traffic plan