Drinkers' safety paramount, say police over road closure
A SENIOR police officer says a road closure that is harming a bakery's business is needed to stop drinkers being hit by cars.
Chief Inspector Steve Pont said shutting the Strand from midnight to 5am on Saturdays and Sundays would "help prevent collisions and injuries".
The road feeds into the bar area of the Wardwick around what Ch Insp Pont called "a tight corner with a restricted view".
But Victoria and Tony Jacobs say their Strand-based bakery, Baked, is losing business because they cannot park outside at these times.
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Mrs Jacobs used to start preparing food at 4.30am on Saturdays, the shop's busiest day, but now has to start later as she feels unsafe walking through the city in the dark.
This means she cannot prepare as much food in time for when the store opens.
Her husband starts at 3am each day and now has to haul the firm's laundry from Friar Gate. Mrs Jacobs said they would not be able to get to the store quickly if an alarm sounded.
She said: "At 3am, there's no-one on the streets so I don't understand why the police think it's necessary.
"If people are going into the road and causing an obstruction, the police should do something about it."
David Gartside, head of traffic and transportation at the city council, wrote to Strand firms saying the authority was making the "experimental" closures on advice from the police.
Ch Insp Pont said vehicles often came around the corner of the Strand into the path of pedestrians crossing over.
He said: "Fortunately, no-one has been hurt but there have been near misses and we hope the move will help prevent any injuries.
"A consultation was carried out by the police and the council with businesses on the Strand before the restrictions were brought in and alternative arrangements set up to allow access close to premises for loading and unloading.
"The aim is to balance the needs of businesses and these safety concerns.
"We're sorry for any inconvenience and welcome all feedback on the trial closures. "The restriction is under review and we'd encourage local businesses who feel they're affected to contact us."
Ch Insp Pont said early responses to the closure had been positive and that it was making the area safer.