PLANS for a 20mph speed limit and one-way traffic system in the centre of Ledbury have been met with a mixed reaction.

Herefordshire Council’s plans to make the town centre better for pedestrians and cyclists would see a 20mph zone and one-way traffic in Woodleigh Road, as well as widening the pavement in Market Square.

The Ledbury Reporter understands that Bye Street was also being considered for a one-way system, as detailed in Herefordshire Council documents leaked to a reporter. 

Councillor John Harrington, the council's transport chief, said a reason for the proposed changes, which would be temporary, was to provide more space for shoppers due to Covid-19 distancing restrictions.

Mayor of Ledbury, Councillor Daniel Vesma said: “The proposed measures appear to provide a sensible balance between pedestrian safety and smooth traffic flow. Many traders in the town centre rely on their customers being able to park, and I am relieved that we will not be losing any parking places. During the consultation meeting, I was able to seek and receive reassurances that the county council will be able to reverse any of the temporary changes that proved to be impractical.”

Caroline Green, chair of the Ledbury Traders Association, said: “A one-way system would not be good for us, putting strain on the town in terms of visitors being put off coming in - it would be a negative thing.

“A speed limit reduction is good as I think it would increase safety for shoppers.

“An out of town car park with electric buses to bring shoppers in would be a good move for Ledbury and the way forward.”

The government announced last month it was creating a £250m emergency active-travel fund for local authorities.

They see this as a ‘window of opportunity’ to ‘embed’ walking and cycling as part of new long-term commuting habits and reap the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits.

The first tranche of this funding for Herefordshire is £40,000, but council leaders are hoping to get an extra £150,000.

Herefordshire Council's councillor for transport, John Harrington, said: “We are trying to continue to provide for people who do want to cycle or walk whether that is to shop, or commute is up to them.

“We have a problem physically with space. As shops start to reopen, we need to think about how we reapportion the space as we will undoubtedly get more and more people going into the city and towns.

“One of the ways of doing that is to take space off the carriageway where there is sufficient width to do it, or close some roads if there are other accesses available to get that space on the streets for pedestrians, cyclists and even to have outdoor cafes.

“It gives us a great opportunity to support people who’ve travelled a different way during the Covid-19 lockdown.”

Ledbury Town Council's chair of the economic development and planning committee, Cllr John Bannister, said: “At short notice, Ledbury Town Council has been considering some of these suggestions and consulting with businesses and residents in the town. Ledbury Town Council will be publishing more details on the town council’s website shortly.”