Transport vital for town plan

DEWSBURY’s transport links have come under the spotlight as part of efforts to regenerate the town.

Making shopping areas more pedestrian-friendly and improving connections between the town centre and surrounding neighbourhoods are two priorities for Dewsbury Regeneration Board.

Potential plans include changes to Dewsbury ring road, pedestrianising all of Foundry Street and linking up the two sections of Longcauseway.

Reconnecting the town centre was one of three ‘big moves’ outlined in the Dewsbury 2035 masterplan, published in November.

Board chairman Coun Paul Kane said: “One of the main strands of work is about connectivity within the town centre itself and making the most of Longcauseway, which would become the main street.

“Dewsbury now is ring-fenced so one of the proposals we’re looking at is to re-open the old road of Longcauseway so people can access the swimming baths and the river.”

Longcauseway is currently split into two separate sections because of the ring road, meaning cars and pedestrians are unable to travel straight along the street.

But re-opening Longcauseway could mean changes to the way traffic moves around the town’s ring road, particularly the section running along the south of the town centre.

Coun Kane said: “We’re looking at the figures at the moment. I think the general consensus is not to close it down but to restrict traffic movements in parts.”

And he stressed it was vital to understand how changes could impact on other roads.

“We don’t want to create another problem,” Coun Kane added.

Board members have also been looking at the changing the way cars move around the town centre.

According to Department of Transport research, turnover increases by between five and 15 per cent after investment in schemes to improve the public realm and people who travel to the shops on foot, by cycle or by public transport spend as much, if not more than, those who travel by car.

Coun Kane said: “We want to make sure people can manoeuvre around town and that we retain the main features of the centre.”

One proposal being considered is to limit traffic along Corporation Street to buses and business access only so that the whole of Foundry Street could be pedestrianised.

Meanwhile, the board received updates on recently completed and ongoing projects which will also improve access to the town.

They included the £400,000 upgrade of Dewsbury train station, a commitment to keep the town’s free bus running and the start of work to improve signals at Ravensthorpe Gyratory.

What do you think? Should the town centre be made more pedestrian-friendly? What improvements would you like to see made to the town’s roads and transport links? Contact the newsroom on 01924 468282 or email dewsburyeditorial@ywng.co.uk.