RADICAL solutions to combat congestion in Bakewell could eventually lead to the town’s two main car parks being moved out of the centre, it is hoped.
The ambitious ideas also include banning HGVs from entering the town over the 800-year-old bridge across the Wye by imposing a weight restriction.
The ideas stem from the result of a £5,000 consultancy carried out recently into congestion issues around the town, which remains one of Derbyshire greatest tourist traps.
Over two million visitors pour into Bakewell each year driving more than 150,000 cars, and the streets are regularly clogged with traffic.
There are currently two main pay-and-display car parks on Granby Road and Market Street, providing around 180 spaces between them.
A Bakewell Town Management Group is being formed to consider a range of proposals regarding the future of the town.
It follows the recent circulation by Bakewell Community Interest Group of a draft town plan ‘Bakewell 2012 and Beyond’ and a consultant-led appraisal report on all aspects of the public areas of the town.
Led by Bakewell Town Council, it will include representatives from the Peak District National Park Authority, Derbyshire County Council, Derbyshire Dales District Council and various local organisations with the purpose of overseeing major improvements to the town.
The cash for the recent consultancy was provided by the Peak District National Park Authority, and with congestion a long-standing issue amongst many residents and businesses, Mayor of Bakewell Cllr Frank Hall hopes action can be taken.
He said: “There’s no reason why two of the car parks could not be moved to the other side of the river and we could release those two large areas for development or public spaces.
“We would like to see a restriction on the bridge so that HGV drivers are obliged to divert. The bridge is an icon and one of the most exquisite gateways into the town.
“These are just ideas that we are considering, people have been complaining for years about congestion.”
With plans already in progress to extend the Monsal Trail cycle path through Bakewell, and with tens of thousands of cyclists already flocking to use it, Cllr Hall predicts that tourism in the town will move to a new level.
“Congestion can only get worse when the Masson Trail opens and we get even more people through Bakewell,” he added.
“We obviously don’t want to stop people coming here, but it needs managing better.
“It’s all about making it a better place to live, to visit and to have a business.
“We need to make it more pedestrian friendly rather than traffic dominated. It’s such a beautiful place to live.”
Residents of Bakewell are invited to the town hall on Saturday, March 3, from 10.30 am to 3.30 pm, when there will be the opportunity to examine the plans in detail and make their own contribution to them.
Members of the town council and community interest group will be available to discuss any issues that you wish to raise.