Leighton Buzzard's controversial loading bay benches moved

The benches had been placed in loading baysThe benches had been placed in loading bays
The benches had been placed in loading bays
It comes as changes have been announced for traffic on High Street and Lake Street

Leighton Buzzard' s controversial benches, described as an accident waiting to happen by residents, have moved from the loading bays where they were placed, after changes to the way traffic moves around the centre of the town were announced.

Changes to Leighton Buzzard High Street and Lake Street have been agreed from March 10, to support the vibrancy of the town centre for residents and businesses.

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And it means the benches located in loading bays on the High Street, as revealed in the Leighton Buzzard Observer last month, have been moved.

A spokesman for Leighton Buzzard Council said: "There were six benches in total. Two remain in situ in the paved area adjacent to North Street and appear to have been well received. There are no plans to move these at the present time.

"With the opening of the High Street, we needed to relocate the other four from the road space that is no longer pedestrianised. One now sits alongside the existing benches around the Market Cross, another has been used to replace a worn bench next to the bus shelter on the Waterborne Walk side, and the remaining two have been placed at the bus shelter on the opposite side.

"We have located them in places we think will limit any need for further relocation."

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Changes will be implemented for the High Street, enabling buses and cars to enter on non-market and non-event days. The new arrangements for the High Street will come into force from Thursday 10 March and will be in place for up to 18 months to enable the council to gather feedback on its effectiveness.

For Lake Street, the plan is to continue with the one-way system. Redesign of the layout, to include a dedicated cycle lane, will take place in the next financial year (April 2022 to March 2023).

A highway audit of the town centre will be undertaken to determine what signage, street furniture, road markings and other elements are needed.

Executive Member for Community Services, Councillor Ian Dalgarno, said: “The changes are designed to support businesses and residents. The High Street will be accessible to buses and cars to travel through the town centre on non-market and event days but will still mean residents can enjoy walking along a traffic-free High Street when the market is open and during special events. We will work collaboratively alongside Leighton Linslade Town Council on finalising the new arrangements.”

Motorists are reminded that currently no vehicles can access the High Street prior to the new arrangements coming into force on Thursday 10 March 2022.