Council comes to decision for ‘rat-run’ issue

L11-1513    24/11/11'Residents protest about the partial Downs Road closure.'wk 48  Henry JX
L11-1513 24/11/11'Residents protest about the partial Downs Road closure.'wk 48 Henry JX

Central Beds Council have decided how to deal with the cut-through traffic problems experienced by residents of Downs Road.

For years, residents have campaigned against their road being used as a traffic ‘rat-run’ between Church Street and High Street South.

Out of seven options proposed by the council last year, it was decided on Monday (January 7) that ‘option 5’ will be implemented.

‘Option 5’ will introduce one-way systems into Downs Road and Park Road, with Downs Road being closed at its junction with Barton Avenue.

Making the decision, Councillor Brian Spurr said: “This I’m going to upset some people but I’m going to cheer some people up – I favour option 5.

“Whatever we do we’ll cause someone a problem. There will be a full legal consultation so you will get another bite of it.

“The voting system had flaws, in that if you’re not going to be affected, your vote doesn’t say much.”

Councillor Roger Pepworth engineered an experimental closure of Downs Road in 2011, and hosted meetings to discuss solutions to the problem last year.

The issue has divided opinion in the area, with residents of neighbouring roads feeling as though the problem will be pushed onto their streets.

Mr Pepworth said: “I take comfort in the fact that I was the first councillor with the balls to do something about it.

“I’ve made mistakes – I should have consulted a much wider area. The consultation system was flawed.

“No one except the person that has a stone in his shoe feels the pain.

“It’s the mark of a civilised society that we make small sacrifices to help others.”

Head of traffic management David Bowie said: “Sometimes councils have to make tough decisions in respect to minority groups, but there will be a full 28-day statutory consultaion on option 5.”

For information about the latest consultation, and to view the plans, visit