PLANS to increase safety in a village near Burton by making pedestrians the priority has been given a firm thumbs-up by residents.
Some 88 per cent of people who viewed proposals in Barton under Needwood felt the ‘Better Safer Barton Centre’ scheme was right for the village.
Councillors have long wanted to find a way of reducing traffic in the centre of the village, particularly in Station Road and Main Street, believing that pedestrians and cyclists no longer feel safe.
Chiefs enlisted the services of urban design firm Node, which has transformed town centres across the Midlands, to draw up designs, which, after going on display at a series of public exhibitions, have been met with an enthusiastic response.
Though vehicles will still have access to the centre, new surfaces in keeping with pedestriainised zones, designed to ‘make drivers think’, will be added.
Speed limit markings will be painted on the road on the approach to the centre of the village and pavements will be widened.
After getting the overwhelming support of the village, councillors now plan to holds talks with Staffordshire County Council to take the scheme to the next stage.
Parish council chairman Graham Hughes said: “We had fantastic support from local people and 88 per cent of those who came to the exhibition and filled in comment forms were keen to see improvements happen.
“This is one of the first schemes in the UK which will have been developed by the local community in this way and we are very proud of that achievement.”
MP Michael Fabricant, who represents the village and attended the exhibitions, was excited by what he saw.
He said: “This is a fantastic example of how local people can make their voices heard.
“I applaud the plans that have been developed and fully support the parish council and county council in working together to take things forward.
“These changes would transform the centre of Barton under Needwood and return it more to the village character it once had, enhancing its appeal to visitors and residents alike.”