HERITAGE chiefs have criticised the controversial Port Street revamp work and claimed it will have ‘modest impact, if any’ on Evesham’s chronic High Street congestion.
Speaking as 22 weeks of work gets underway, the Vale of Evesham Civic Society joined the chorus of disproval at the cost to commuters and local businesses from the revamp plan.
While society chiefs welcomed the improvements to the pavements on Port Street and the updated lights at the Waterside junction they warned the work would come at a ‘significant cost’.
“The relatively modest benefits come at a massive cost to residents and businesses south of the river,” society chair Gill Pawson said.
“This major town access route will require complex traffic control measures for at least 24 weeks.
“Bengeworth, Badsey, Offenham, Broadway and Four Pools residents will find it difficult to frequent the shops, as we need them to do in support of Evesham’s recovery from Covid 19 lockdown.
“When Port Street was closed due to a sewer collapse in 2019, queues from the High Street extended up Greenhill to the A44 roundabout, Can we afford a repeat of that situation for an extended period?
Society chiefs have called for double yellow lines on both sides from Waterside to the Broadway Road roundabout to remove parking on the carriageway and pavement.
Green Party chiefs have also added their voice to the political pressure on the works which was sparked when district councillor Martin King withdrew as a Conservative candidate for the May 6 elections.
Led by Coun Ed Cohen, the Greens have called for shuttle bus to be introduced with pick up from the Orchards, Lavender Fields, Broadway Road and Four Pools to the town centre to reduce the need for car journeys and the launch of an e-bike hire scheme.
In response, a Worcestershire County Council spokesperson said: “Improvement schemes of this nature have to be planned 12 months in advance of work beginning on site. This is to help co-ordinate contractors and utility companies and to obtain permission to carry out necessary road closures.
“We have liaised with local residents and businesses ahead of the changes coming in and this will continue as the scheme progresses.”