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New crossings compromise reached over Solihull Gateway scheme

A compromise has been reached over controversial plans to remove pedestrian crossings from part of Solihull town centre as part of a £2 million road network scheme.

A compromise has been reached over controversial plans to remove pedestrian crossings from part of Solihull town centre as part of a £2 million road network scheme.

Blind charities hit out at the Solihull Gateway scheme after council bosses announced they wanted to remove the pelican crossings from the town centre and replace them with ‘courtesy’ crossings.

A damning council report – designed to improve the road network for all users in the town centre – also revealed a number of issues in the planned scheme.

Solihull Council has now agreed to install three zebra crossings to make it safer for vulnerable visitors to the town.

The Solihull Gateway project will see in the region of £2.2 million of highway improvements in Station Road and Poplar Road, a key ‘Gateway’ for access into Solihull town centre.

More than 80 per cent of residents and visitors said they supported the scheme, according to the council’s consultation.

The crossings will be sited at the start of the pedestrian zone and, according to the council, will provide an acceptable solution for those who are not comfortable using courtesy crossings, including people who are blind or partially sighted.

Terry Smith, engagement manager at Guide Dogs for the Blind, said: “Ideally we would have preferred to retain the pelican crossing but having three pedestrian priority crossings is seen by us and local stakeholders as keeping Solihull inclusive for people with sight loss.”

Councillor Ted Richards, Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways, added: “I’d like to thank those representatives of vulnerable road users who have worked with us to design a scheme that will enhance Solihull town centre. We have happily made compromises along the way and now have a plan that I am personally proud of.”

Prospective Conservative MP for Solihull Julian Knight has also applauded the changes, saying a third crossing was needed to help those with a visual impairment.

 

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