Rangiora’s Alfred Street to Remain Closed Outside Subway – in the meantime, at least

Alfred Street, looking towards Victoria Street

Alfred Street, looking east towards Victoria Street

The controversial closure of Alfred Street at Victoria Street, on the western side, is to remain in place in the meantime. The closure already in place was confirmed, but the Council has also asked for an assessment to be made of the impact of the closure – although no time was set for this.

The Council had received a petition from businessman and lawyer Lindsay Bain and a large number of Rangiora business people asking that the decision be reversed.  They argued that circulation around the town centre had been made difficult by the closure, that access to the rear of some High Street businesses had been compromised and that some vehicles were using the carpark by the Victoria Street liquor store as a through-route.  They also argued that the suggested sitting-out area outside Monteith’s was unattractive and unsuitable for that sort of use.

The original reason for the closure was based on the belief that Alfred Street between Victoria and Percival Streets had become unsafe with increased trafiic caused by High Street being made one-way.  There had also been the view that the area would be an ideal sitting-out area for the restaurant and takeaway establishments on the south side.

A number of councillors argued that the matter had gone through a robust and proper process.  Submissions had been called for and received (about 70 or 80, from memory), a hearing had been held and a decision made on the basis of the evidence.  The decision had been appealed to the Environment Court which had concluded that there was no overwhelming argument either way and that the matter was up to the Council.  On that basis, the street had now been legally closed.

My own view is that I have strong doubts about the desirability of the closure – a position that is different to what I felt 18 months ago.  However, although I have read all the written submissions, I was not present at or part of the hearing panel so I am not in a position to question their thinking.  I accept that the process was sound.  I therefore support a review of the impact of the closure taking place.  I wanted that to happen in about a year, by which time traffic patterns would have settled down.  Unfortunately, I was not supported in this and so the timing of the review is up in the air.

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