Residents on the Yew Tree Road in Ormskirk have criticised Lancashire County Council’s decision to reopen a ‘rat run’ which has been closed since 2020.
The council installed a temporary road closure on the Yew Tree Road, limiting it to cyclists and pedestrians, to stop vehicles using it as a through route at the height of the initial lockdown period, and to encourage locals to walk or cycle to shops and businesses.
In August 2021 the council voted to extend the road closure even as lockdown restrictions were eased, as part of a decision to maintain schemes which were deemed to have had ‘a positive impact overall’.
However, following a consultation with residents, it was announced this week that the Yew Tree Road closure will end in the coming weeks, with planters and signage to be removed as soon as possible.
While 62% of those consulted opposed extending the closure, particularly those on surrounding streets, the council’s decision has been met with criticism from people who live on the road.
One resident, Gareth Blacoe, told Lancashire Live that almost all of the residents who lived on the road were in favour of keeping the scheme. He also expressed concerns about speeding on what he described as a ‘rat run’.
“The cars thunder up and down here when it is open as it is a straight road,” Gareth said. “When does the rat run just become the way? The deliveries come to the retail park, and the HGVs come down here, and it’s a residential area.
“90% of the residents on this road are against the road reopening. On a street like this, there are children playing out, and there are elderly people. It’s a straight road and the traffic zooms through.
“Most people drive responsibly - but it’s the 10 percent who don’t that cause accidents. If somebody gets killed, what happens then?
“It’s 20mph on here, but not many people do that. There has to be either speed bumps, which nobody wants, speed cameras, or chicanes, to slow the traffic down, which I think would be a good idea.”
The Yew Tree Road will reopen fully to all traffic on 6 March.