Plans to enforce closure of Shrewsbury’s Crowmeole Lane delayed
Shropshire Council’s plan to use ‘moving traffic offences’ enforcement powers to enable a permanent closure of Crowmeole Lane, Shrewsbury, to all but cyclists and pedestrians – to encourage more active travel use – has been delayed by recent changes in government, and in the government’s spending priorities.
As a result, there have been delays in issuing these powers to local authorities, including Shropshire Council, but it’s expected that these powers will now be granted by summer 2023.
From 31 May 2022, local authorities in England outside of London were able to apply to the Secretary of State for new powers to enforce ‘moving traffic offences’. This meant they could be granted powers that were previously held only by the police and will be able to issue fines to drivers for these offences for the first time.
The plan to apply for ‘moving traffic offences’ powers – subject to a public consultation exercise – to enforce a permanent ‘point closure’ on Crowmeole Lane using ANPR cameras, was approved by Shropshire Council’s Cabinet on 23 March 2022.
The closure is currently in place with ‘road closed’ A-frame signs located at both entrances. West Mercia Police currently undertake regular enforcement checks at this location.
Ian Nellins, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for active travel, said:
“Concerns have been raised by the public as to the safety of the closure signs currently in place on Crowmeole Lane, particularly in adverse weather conditions when they are prone to blowing over and obstructing the road.
“Though these delays are frustrating, once the council is granted ‘moving traffic offences’ powers by the Secretary of State we’ll be able to put ANPR cameras in place, which will address this, and enable us to issue fines to drivers contravening the road closure.”
The Crowmeole Lane public consultation ran from 25 March to 24 June 2022. A total of 463 survey responses and 18 email or postal responses were received with 52.1% or respondents in support and 44.9% in opposition.
The section of Crowmeole Lane from its junction with Rad Valley Road over the narrow Radbrook bridge to its most northerly junction with Sandiway – and vice versa – has been closed to traffic except for buses, cyclists and pedestrians since March 2021 as part of a trial that ended in September 2022. The Traffic Order to close Crowmeole Lane on a permanent basis was issued in September 2022.
Procurement is currently taking place for the purchase of cameras with ANPR capabilities which will be used to enforce the six trial School Streets across Shropshire as well as the Crowmeole Lane point closure.
Shropshire Council was in the ‘second tranche’ of applications for ‘moving traffic offences’ enforcement powers. The first tranche of applications were granted in late 2022.