Road closure planned to ‘ease congestion’

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North Lanarkshire Council has dusted off a 10-year-old plan which suggested easing congestion in Bellshill town centre by closing off part of Main Street.

Back in December 2001 the Bellshill Town Centre Action Plan (BTCAP) was approved and contained the proposed closure of Main Street between the Sir Matt Busby Centre and the West Church.

However, since then there has been an increase in traffic in the town centre and the junction at the cross between Main Street and Hamilton Road has been shut off.

In April the Bellshill and District Local Area Partnership (LAP) requested that a report be brought to its next meeting re-evaluating the merits of the closure and in July was subsequently told it was not possible to do this without the benefit of a traffic model.

This micro-simulation traffic model would be used as a monitoring tool to evaluate the operation of the town centre road network and suggest any improvements which could be made.

To facilitate this, last week the council’s planning and transport committee was asked to approve the introduction of an experimental temporary closure to the west of the Sir Matt Busby Centre which would last 18 months.

Heads of roads and transportation Graham MacKay said: “A temporary road closure, promoted as an experimental order under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, would allow the merits of the closure to be determined without committing the council to the expense of the permanent works.

The proposal was continued by councillors and will be discussed at a future meeting of the planning and transportation committee.

Bellshill councillor Harry Curran believes more consultation is needed before anything is progressed.

He said: “Since the original proposals to close the road, a lot has changed.

“It would therefore be useful to go out and speak to the local residents and the church to find out their views before any decision is made on whether this closure would be appropriate.”

Full story in September 22 edition of Bellshill Speaker