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Traders' blockade move to stop cars in market

Walsall | News | Published:

Stallholders have taken to creating their own blockades as they bid to stop cars travelling through the centre of Willenhall market.

Up to 10 cars are said to be illegally driving through Willenhall on market days.

Some market traders are now having to use crates to create a blockade in Market Place.

They say cars passing through the busy town centre on market days are putting both lives and livelihoods at risk.

In June last year, Walsall Council announced there would be a total ban on cars driving through the centre of town, with new signs put up to allow police to take stricter action on drivers who flout the rules.

But councillors today said no signs have yet been installed and cars are still driving through on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Willenhall South ward representative Councillor Diane Coughlan said traders had come up with a plan for what they wanted to see included in the traffic regulations following consultation in 2011.

"But the signs have still not been done and there is still a problem with people driving through the town centre," she said. "Some traders have even put crates in the middle of the road to stop cars going through."

Councillor Coughlan said she feared the situation was "an accident waiting to happen".

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"It has come to something when the traders are having to block the road themselves," she said.

Cars are said to be travelling from the Wolverhampton Street direction into the town centre.

Upon realising their error, some are then trying to turn around within the small space, it is claimed.

Trader David Williams, who has been running a fruit and veg stall for four-and-a-half, years, said he wanted to see the correct signs put in place. "On some days we've even had lorries trying to get through on market days," he said.

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"I think on average there must be about 10 cars a day trying to get through."

Walsall Council said proposals were put forward three years ago followed by a "considerable consultation period".

Tom Ansell, transport boss, said: "We're now working to introduce a Traffic Regulation Order which will prevent drivers from using the pedestrian zone on Market Place, Cross Street, and parts of Stafford Street and Wolverhampton Street."

And he warned town traders not to put their own blockades in the town centre because of health and safety fears.

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