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Market Place upgrade 5 years on - road too dangerous so cyclists use the pavement

(December 11, 2014)

WARMINSTER'S Georgian High Street was praised by the horseback traveller William Cobbett in the early 19th Century.

But what would the famous gentleman make of the scene today following the waste of a million pounds on the upgrade to the Market Place? The 'shabby genteel' upgrade ruined the look of our once attractive town.

But in addition to the aesthetic mistakes aplenty the area has become dangerous, says local councillor Steve Dancey, who had to take urgent action to avoid a cyclist on the pavement today.

"I just stepped out of the BHF shop (the old Wilson and Kennards) when a youth on a pedal cycle whizzed past my nose," he said.

"An elderly person would have been even more vulnerable.

"Cycling on the wide pavements is now a common sight. It is against the law and dangerous for pedestrians but as a regular cyclist I know why they do it.

"The truth is that the narrowed carriegeway in the Market Place is too dangerous for all but the most confident rider because many motorists are too impatient and ill-mannered to wait behind the rider for a few seconds and so try to overtake.

"One worker I know, who has been riding through the town centre to work since the late 1960s, now has to take a different and longer route to avoid the Market Place. So much for encouraging cycling as, in the town centre at least, the changes have all but killed it off.

"The wide pavements also look ridiculous and are simply huge empty areas as so many shoppers have  sadly deserted the town centre.

"It doesn't have to be like this as if you visit Cirencester, Devizes - even Shaftesbury and Frome you'll see examples of thriving shopping centres in market towns with on street parking.

"Something will have to change - but we'll have to wait until 2017 when the dead wood can be pruned out and we will finish the job we started in 2013."


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