Fury as traders say new road plans yards from Plumbers Arms and takeaway will 'kill business'

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Controversial plans to resurrect a four-decades-old highway in front of one of Huddersfield town centre’s most popular pubs are set to go ahead despite opposition from the landlord.

In March, ExaminerLive revealed the plans to reinstate the highway just yards away from the entrance to the Plumbers Arms.

The council says it would make it more attractive to travel into Huddersfield by public transport and would make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

To this end, they are making some changes to the road layout around the bus station.

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But Plumbers owner Mark Robertson and the owner of the Alsham Pastry takeaway next door, Simko Farman, are unhappy about the plans and say they will oppose them.

Mr Robertson currently has several benches sited directly in the line of the proposed highway which will have to be removed entirely or moved elsewhere.

Clr Naheed Mather

Councillor Naheed Mather, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “The works to create a new exit onto Market Street from Macaulay Street for loading and delivery vehicles is now complete and an Experimental Traffic Order has been in place since September 22.

“The Square, which includes Macaulay Street, remains a pedestrian zone and the only vehicles permitted are those undertaking loading and deliveries, cyclists and permit holders (for access to the private yard in Threadneedle Street).

“These changes have been introduced to complement wider plans to make the town centre safer and more accessible for pedestrians.

“More pedestrianised areas means more vibrancy with live music, hospitality spaces and cultural events bringing much needed visitors to the town centre.

“If the economy in our towns is to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to remain committed to improving the experience for all. The changes will also make deliveries easier for businesses to manage.

Mark Robertson who owns The Plumbers Arms, Macauley Street, Huddersfield town centre, reads Kirklees Council’s letter telling him to remove the 10 benches and chairs (Image: Robert Sutcliffe/Reach PLC)

“The measures are being introduced under an Experimental Traffic Order, (ETO). so that the delivery restrictions can be considered by businesses on the Square over a period of time before any firm proposals are made.

“As always, we want to make sure this works for the businesses impacted, and really encourage them to share their views with us so we can harmonise the delivery window and the operation of café licences.

“Whilst we will continue to work with local businesses, it is essential for us to address pedestrian safety in this area.”

But Mr Robertson said: “There have been no accidents in front of this pub for more than 40 years so I don’t see how reinstating this highway so close to the pub can possibly make it a safer area for drinkers and pedestrians.

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“I don’t want vehicles coming past the pub but because they are doing it as an ETO means they can legally do it for six months. Why are they landlocking us in?

“It’s going to have a big impact having a road straight outside the pub and I think a lot of people will complain about it.”

Mr Farman added: “I think these plans could kill my business. I have plans for a large canopy in front of my store and for there to be six tables and 12 chairs so customers can sit out and enjoy their food and drinks.”

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