HUNDREDS of people took advantage of a chance to have their say on the £12.4 million scheme to regenerate Hucknall town centre.
Notts County Council would carry out the long-awaited project, which is for a new inner bypass road and pedestrianisation of High Street from its junctions with Baker Street to Watnall Road.
The council held a roadshow outside Hucknall Post Office on High Street for three days last week to inform the public of ‘subtle’ changes which have been made to the proposals.
The county council’s principal projects manager, Paul Horn, said: “We were a very visible presence in the town centre. It was very encouraging that so many people came along to have a chat with us and have a look at the plans.
“More than 300 people submitted written responses and I think that is quite an impressive number for the three days we were there.
“Opinions about the scheme were mixed but the majority of people were very positive about what they saw. People seemed happy with the slight amendments we have made.”
Display boards, giving details of the plans, are now on view in Hucknall Library.
The proposed bypass, connecting Annesley Road with Station Road, would run parallel with High Street and there would be a bus-only link between the new road and the High Street/Watnall Road junction. A revised planning application is due to be submitted next month.
A vital £8.5 million cash injection has been pledged by the government and the rest of the cost will be shared by the county council and Ashfield District Council.
The pedestrianisation aspect has provoked much controversy. Some think it would sound the death knell for trade in the town centre, which already has several empty shops.
But others think it would mean a big improvement in terms of road safety because it is currently difficult to walk across High Street.
A particular bone of contention is the idea of buses being allowed to run on the proposed pedestrian area. Traders say this would help with access to shops but critics claim that it would create a danger of accidents.
Michael Fisher (33), of Vaughan Estate, Hucknall, said: “I will be happy with the scheme if it helps to revitalise the town centre, which has been hard hit by shoppers going to the town’s Tesco superstore instead. It is difficult to know what difference the regeneration proposals would make.”
Jim Shaw (82), who is currently paying his first visit to Hucknall for 25 years after emigrating to New Zealand, said he thought the town had ‘shrunk’ in terms of the number of its shops, whereas there was now much more traffic than he remembered.
Coun Mick Murphy, a Hucknall Conservative member of the county council, has said he fears traffic ‘mayhem’ at the Station Road end of the bypass, where there would be three traffic-light junctions close together.
The county council’s Cabinet member for highways and transport, Coun Richard Jackson (Con), said he was confident the scheme would give the town centre a big boost and make it more inviting.