Pedestrian scheme showcases Hucknall of the future

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Making part of Hucknall High Street traffic-free last Saturday brought an exciting new lease of life to the town centre.

The closed-off section between the South Street and Watnall Road junctions was thronged with families for a special fun day.

The High Street Bonanza offered a foretaste of what things will be like when this stretch of the street is permanently pedestrianised.

The six-hour event was organised by the I Love Hucknall group, together with Notts County Council and Ashfield District Council.

I Love Hucknall chair Sandy Singleton said: “I am absolutely delighted. There was a great response from people of Hucknall and from outside the town. The support from businesses and community groups was brilliant.”

The official opener was Hucknall councillor John Wilmott. He said this was the first event of its kind to be held in the town and it augured well for the pedestrianisation.

More than a dozen stalls were set up along the street and Coun Wilmott went to them all to offer his thanks. “Without them, there would have been no event,” he stressed.

One of the stands gave details of the county council’s £12.4m plans for the pedestrianisation and Hucknall’s long-awaited inner relief road.

High Street traders joined in the spirit of the occasion with original ideas of their own. For instance, Specsavers chose a Hawaiian theme with garlands and a simulated palm tree.

The White Post Farm had a display of animals, including a corn snake and a 70-year-old tortoise, on the Flight of Fancy square next to the Half Moon pub.

The Kick ‘n’ Rush skiffle group entertained throughout the event, dedicating songs to I Love Hucknall and the Dispatch.

Trent Barton brought a Connect Hero’s bus named after local soldier Paul Sandford, who was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan, and there was a tram information stand. Many children had their faces painted and enjoyed a bouncy castle.

The majority view was that pedestrianisation would be a good way of boosting the town centre, following the example of Bulwell, although some thought parking was a vital issue.

Hucknall mum Fiona Johnson, who was there with her baby son, Kevin, said: “It was lovely to be able to wheel his buggy down the middle of High Street, knowing we were safe from traffic.”