WORK on a new traffic layout in Dudley town centre will start in just over a week’s time – offering better access to shops and easier parking.
Council bosses have launched the project in King Street, which will see the route opened up to all traffic – a move they hope will benefit shops and businesses.
The works are due to start on September 1 and will carry on until November, which the council said will leave retailers with enough time to build up Christmas trade.
The street will be changed to create a throughway for all vehicles. Currently, the street is only open to buses and taxis.
Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, cabinet member for transport, said that the council has liaised with the retailers and informed them of the works, and said that the appetite for the improvements was ‘positive’.
The council said the improvements will also make parking easier and lead to more passers-by stopping to shop. While the work takes place, a diversion will be put in place and motorists wishing to gain access to Hall Street from Flood Street will be diverted via Duncan Edwards Way, the Castlegate roundabout and Trindle Road.
Retailers welcome the improvements but worry about how it could affect business while the work is carried out.
Roy Jevons, who owns Roy Jevons Music, said: “For me it is sort of like them going back to the way it was. We have been here 33 years and I remember when they changed the road originally to make it pedestrianised. The footfall vanished when they did that so I would welcome a change back to the way it used to be, as long as when it is completed they police it properly – if people use it as a place to stick their cars all day then nobody wins.”
Martin Marston, manager of Woodside Crafts, said: “When it is done it will bring more footfall but we are worried about how it will affect us during the work.
“We are mostly worried about the placement of bus shelters afterwards; we use the front of our store to advertise and if a bus shelter is put outside blocking us then we will lose out.”
Paul Millward, manager of UNO Furniture, said: “When done it might be a great help but while it is happening it might affect trade.”