Plans for Melton’s central ring road to become one-way

Plans have been unveiled to convert Melton’s central ring road into a one-way carriageway to make room for cycle lanes and widened footpaths.

By Nick Rennie
Thursday, 21st January 2021, 4:32 pm
The proposed conversion of Melton's central ring road to a one-way highway in the interim transport strategy for Melton Mowbray EMN-210121-162056001
The proposed conversion of Melton's central ring road to a one-way highway in the interim transport strategy for Melton Mowbray EMN-210121-162056001

The idea, mooted in Leicestershire County Council’s interim transport strategy for the town, would see all vehicles travelling only in a clockwise direction along Wilton Road, Norman Way and Sherrard Street.

The proposals, which would only be adopted after the Melton Mowbray Distributor Road (MMDR) is completed in full, is one of the suggestions being made in the strategy, which was launched this week.

Residents are being asked for their comments over the next six weeks on the plans, which also include the provision of six cycle routes in the town and an enlarged ‘bus hub’ on St Mary’s Way in place of all major town centre stops.

The junction of Norman Way with Thorpe End in Melton - if the proposed interim transport strategy proposals were eventually approved vehicles would only be able to turn right into Thorpe End from Norman Way and not vice versa EMN-210121-162202001

County Hall says there is a need to plan ahead because the MMDR will not solve all of the congestion problems in Melton with thousands of new homes set to be built over the next two decades.

Councillor Trevor Pendleton, county council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We know the north and east distributor road will make a difference by easing traffic and improving journey times.

“But the road alone – as welcome as it is – is not sufficient to support the planned growth of the town and surrounding area.

“It needs to form part of a wider package of measures to help address the town’s existing traffic problems, support the growth of the town and to achieve wider objectives, including environmental and health factors, such as encouraging more walking and cycling.”

The Interim Melton Mowbray Transport Strategy which has just launched EMN-210120-155829001

The inner ring road currently sees more than 25,000 vehicle movements on its busiest days.

Regarding the proposals for it to be made a one-way highway, the strategy consultation document states: “The conversion of the central ring road to a one-way system has the potential to reduce the barrier to pedestrian movements by allowing the carriageway to be significantly narrowed (this could potentially be supported by improved pedestrian crossing facilities and traffic calming features).

“The additional space could then be used in a variety of ways, including widened footways, a segregated cycleway, expanded public space and enhanced landscaping.”

A further idea suggested in the strategy is for Mill Street, Regent Street and Brook Street to be made one-way, giving more room for pedestrians and space for residents to park on the street.

The six proposed cycle routes in the interim transport strategy for Melton Mowbray (see key below) EMN-210121-162106001

The council is keen to make environmental improvements to the town centre and its strategy for taking vehicles away from the centre would be complemented by a series of six cycle routes, connecting the town centre and other key destinations, including main industrial estates and employment areas, the hospital, schools and planned development areas.

The cycle lanes would also feed into the planned orbital cycling route due to be created as part of the MMDR partial bypass of the town.

Residents will be asked for their views on current and future passenger transport services in Melton, with a suggestion that new facilities be provided at the town railway station to enable people to get on trains without using the existing foot bridge over the track.

The strategy document suggests a need for enhanced bus facilities, including the creation of an enlarged ‘bus hub’ on St Mary’s Way.

The proposed one-way scheme for Mill Street, Regent Street and Brook Street in the interim transport strategy for Melton Mowbray EMN-210121-162116001

“This could potentially accommodate all of the town’s main bus stops and be equipped with new and improved passenger facilities,” it states.

“Consolidating the bus stops in a single location would create a more cohesive ‘gateway’ to the town centre for passengers, simplifying understanding of where to catch a bus from the town centre, as well as enabling easier interchange between services.”

The strategy proposals would cost around £100million to implement and with extreme financial pressures on the county council budget it is anticpated that funding would be sought from government grants and developer contributions.

Results of the consultation will be included in the final interim strategy which will be debated by cabinet members this summer before residents are then further consulted on a final strategy document.

The schemes which are approved will be brought in after the MMDR is built - funding and planning permission has already been agreed for the northern and eastern sections while full funding and planning approval has yet to be finalised for a proposed southern link.

Construction of the new relief road will begin in spring next year with an anticipated completion due early in the summer of 2024.

The proposed enlarged 'bus hub' in the interim transport strategy for Melton Mowbray EMN-210121-162045001

It is hoped that the southern section will be built at the same time as the north and east links but this depends on funding being secured in time.

To have your say on the interim transport strategy for Melton Mowbray, visit www.leicestershire.gov.uk/melton-mowbray-transport-strategy and you can also email [email protected] for further information on it.