Plans could mean end for town’s blue barrier bother

Church Street shopping centre barrier's, Seaham
Church Street shopping centre barrier's, Seaham
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Decade-long calls to remove a barrier between two shopping spots could finally be answered under a masterplan to bring investment and improvements to Seaham.

The blue barrier between the end of Church Street and Byron Place was put up when the shopping centre opened in 2007.

John Brady, centre manager of Byron Place.

John Brady, centre manager of Byron Place.

It has been the source of frustration ever since, with critics saying it deters people from passing between the two locations.

Now a new plan has been put together by Durham County Council, which would see the majority of the barrier taken down and speed humps installed to slow traffic

A section of the fencing will be left on a bend to stop people from walking out into the road, with the scheme the result of discussions between councils, businesses, police and residents.

A consultation event will be held tomorrow to gather people’s views after the suggestion to tear down the barrier was called for by businesses and backed by the Destination Seaham tourism group and town leaders.

It’s been a big issue from day one because I think it proves a physical and psychological barrier between the Byron Place and Church Street.

John Brady

John Brady, manager of the shopping centre, said: “It’s been a big issue from day one because I think it proves a physical and psychological barrier between the Byron Place and Church Street.

“It has been something that’s been raised, why the council decided to put the blue barrier there in the first place, but they gave the reason about health and safety.

“But it now looks like they’ve worked something out.

“I’m quite pleased with what they’ve done and the centre is one of the busiest parts of town, and there’s Church Street, North Terrace which has developed itself, and the marina and this will help people walk between them all.

“We’re pleased Durham County Council has asked us to hold the consultation event and it would be good for people to come along and say what they make of it.”

As part of the master plans, the county council will look at attracting more jobs to the area, joining those at ResQ and Great Annual Savings at Spectrum Business Park, with further work to be carried out in the marina.

Graham Wood, the county council’s economic development manager, said: “Residents, businesses, our local councillors and visitors to Seaham have told us that the blue safety barrier between Byron Place and Church Street is an obstruction for pedestrians.

“We have listened and are now proposing to remove the barrier.”

The consultation event will be held at Byron Place tomorrow from 10am to 3pm.

Anyone who cannot make the event can contact the county council on 03000 267967 or by emailing CED@durham.gov.uk.