On Friday 26th June, Lancashire County Council (LCC) Highway’s department rushed in Temporary Traffic Orders delivering various road space reallocation interventions across Ormskirk. This was to take advantage of Government funding to quickly introduce temporary measures to make it easier for people to cycle and walk and maintain safe social distancing as a replacement for journeys previously made by public transport, and which might otherwise be made by car.
LCC failed to consult with the public, local businesses, borough council or local councillors. Only contacting the borough or local councillors the night before they put up the barriers cutting off businesses who are already struggling through the Covid crisis.
In doing so they caused chaos In Ormskirk, particularly to local businesses and road users along Moor Street and Railway Road. Without any clear benefits to those cycling or walking due to a lack of any public information.
The County Councillor for Ormskirk, Cllr Nikki Hennessy said “A resident contacted me about the chaos that the barriers, which were put in overnight without any consultation, were causing. I went along to talk to the businesses that it had been affected. I believe the security guards from Nat West Bank could not get access to the bank in the morning, as well as deliveries to all businesses along Moor street and Railway Road; Taxis were left waiting by the big water barriers. Bargain Booze, The Earl of Sandwich & Piri Piri could not receive there deliveries.”
“I spoke with LCC Highway officers and the Cabinet Member for Highways County Councillor Keith Iddon and suggested that they remove the barriers ASAP. They were very apologetic for the inconvenience caused and thankfully the barriers were removed on Saturday.”
“I welcome making our roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists. COVID-19 has changed the way we all work and travel and we must take the opportunity to engage with businesses and the community about how we can manage and support change and not just bring chaos to Ormskirk on a Friday afternoon’. This failure by LCC to consult with local people only reflects the current chaos and mind set within the council to avoid any form of scrutiny or public reaction to its plans.”