Checks ordered for Prom layout

Work on the Promenade near Blackpool Tower

Work on the Promenade near Blackpool Tower

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TOWN hall bosses have bowed to public pressure and agreed to undertake an independent assessment of the new Promenade layout.

Blackpool Council has moved to allay the fears of local residents and disabled groups after the new “shared space” scheme was launched with many claiming it was an “accident waiting to happen”.

Today, the town hall revealed a quality and access audit will be carried out to consider the space and how it is now being used.

The audit will look at how the road is used by people with disabilities as well other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

It will be carried out at different times of the day and will take into account the Illuminations.

Coun Eddie Collett, cabinet member for crime and community safety, said: “The Promenade looks fantastic but we know some people have concerns over the new layout.

“Although we do want people to be patient and take time to get used to the new format we acknowledge that there’s genuine concern over a number of issues out there which is why we’ve appointed an independent expert to look at it.”

TMS Consultancy, a specialist traffic management and road safety consultant will be working with Phil Jones Associates, who create schemes that aim to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional, to carry out the audit.

Coun Sarah Riding, cabinet member for equality and diversity, added: “As part of the audit we’ve identified 13 local groups that have expressed an interest in the scheme and they will be contacted so they can give their views direct to the assessors.”

Meanwhile, the architect behind the shared space scheme on Blackpool Promenade said he was pleased with the way it is operating and urged critics to be patient.

Ben Hamilton-Baillie met with town transport chiefs yesterday to review the new carriageway in front of the Tower.

The road re-opened in June after being reduced to a single lane in both directions, with signals and pedestrian barriers removed.

Mr Hamilton-Baillie said: “Overall the flow of traffic is steady and drivers are taking notice of pedestrians. There is still a lot of building work going on so we have artificial concentrations of pedestrians.

“Until all the work is finished and the barriers have gone, you cannot get the right dynamic relationship between pedestrians and traffic.

“But already you can see the transformation. It is much more civilised.”