Motorists to be banned from driving into Hanley as pedestrianised area is extended
MOTORISTS will be banned from driving into Hanley from next week as the pedestrianised area is extended and bus lanes are introduced.
Key roads including Old Hall Street and Percy Street are to be cut off to traffic.
And others – such as Stafford Street, Bethesda Street and parts of Trinity Street and John Street – will become dedicated bus lanes.
Maps detailing the changes also show a number of one-way streets will be introduced.
The new layout will go live on Tuesday to coincide with the opening of the bus station. Police officers and marshals will be on hand to advise drivers but anyone caught flouting the ban in the future will be fined £60.
The move has angered traders and divided opinion among shoppers who say they may now avoid Hanley.
Jennifer James, aged 29, of Regent Road, Hanley, said: "Stafford Street is a main route through the city centre. I drop my mum off to go the Potteries Shopping Centre a couple of times each week.
"If buses are going to carry on going up the road, cars should be allowed up there too."
Disabled bays will be available on some traffic-free roads such as Old Hall Street and outside the extended pedestrianised area, such as Foundry Street and Cheapside.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has already contacted businesses to inform them of changes to access and loading bays.
But Christine Harvey, manager of The Rose Bowl flower shop, in Stafford Street, said: "We've got no idea how this is going to work. I dread to think what it will be like in the initial period after the roads are changed."
Hackney carriages will continue to use a taxi rank on Stafford Street. But private hire car drivers will be banned from using the bus lanes leading to accusations of discrimination.
Bryan Roland, general secretary of the National Private Hire Association, said: "It seems ridiculous. A large percentage of customers are elderly or disabled. It's discrimination."
Peter Price, the council's assistant director for technical services, said: "Traffic laws treat private hire vehicles like privately-owned cars.
"We expect drivers to comply with the traffic signs, for those who do not, the council and police will take action."