Heaton low traffic trial to be removed

Trial measures to reduce traffic on residential streets in Heaton will not be made permanent.
Bolingbroke Street in Heaton, Newcastle, looking towards the junction with Heaton Park Road. Temporary bollards are blocking vehicle access.

Trial measures to reduce traffic on residential streets in Heaton will not be made permanent following a review of consultation feedback and data.

The Heaton Neighbourhood Low Traffic Zone trial was implemented in October 2022 and was intended to make local streets safer and more pleasant by redirecting traffic onto more appropriate routes and encouraging more walking and cycling.

However, findings from the trial showed that these main objectives were not met.

Rather than using main routes, vehicles were found to often use alternative residential streets and back lanes, and there was no evidence that the trial had resulted in more people walking or cycling.

Consultation with residents was carried out and traffic data collected during the trial has been analysed alongside people’s comments and feedback prior to the decision being made to remove the scheme.

A spokesperson for Newcastle City Council said: “Following a review of consultation feedback and data collected during the Heaton Neighbourhood Low Traffic Zone trial, we have concluded that it would not be appropriate to make these measures permanent when the experimental traffic regulation order (ETRO) expires on April 23.

“Traffic data collated during the trial showed that, rather than using main routes, vehicles often used alternative residential streets, with Falmouth Road and Wandsworth Road particularly affected by an increase in traffic.

“A major concern was the fact that over 700 vehicles a day were found to be using the back lanes on Heaton Park Road. This creates a number of road safety risks as these lanes are not designed for, or expected to carry, this level of through traffic.

“There was also no data to suggest that there had been a significant shift to walking and cycling during the trial. 

“Any reduction in traffic on some residential streets – notably Heaton Park View and Cardigan Terrace – instead led to the increase in use of back lanes and we know residents would agree that this is not what we wanted to achieve.

“We have examined all 2,380 responses to the consultation and the views of residents were almost evenly split between those in favour of the measures and those against.

“We will be publishing a formal decision later this week and we do, of course, remain committed to working with communities to look at how we can make our neighbourhoods safer, cleaner and greener.

“We have already engaged with residents on other options for the Heaton area. That conversation will continue and we will use the feedback we have received to help shape revised proposals for Heaton which we will consult with residents on in due course.”