Canterbury's Westgate Towers traffic ban 'should continue'

Canterbury Westgate Towers
Image caption Traffic has been banned from passing through the archway for 12 months

A scheme to ban traffic passing through Canterbury's Westgate Towers should be kept in place while evaluations are carried out, the city's council says.

Peter Vickery-Jones, responsible for transport on Canterbury City Council, said traffic pollution had been reduced during the year-long trial.

The ban on vehicles passing under the gateway came into effect in March 2012.

About 4,000 people signed a petition calling for the scheme to be scrapped.

Opponents said the changes to traffic flows caused congestion and were a danger to pedestrians.

'Evened out pollution'

Mr Vickery-Jones said: "We have displaced traffic, there's no question of that.

"We have reduced the amount of traffic in the St Dunstan's area by 15%.

"That's had the effect of reducing the air quality management systems in St Peter's Place, Pound Lane, North Lane and Lower St Dunstan's [Street] to an acceptable level."

He said the scheme had evened out pollution levels across the city.

"For us to revisit the pollution back on those people who live in those areas would be a bad mistake until we've had an opportunity to look at the figures."

In a statement, Kent County Council said: "Finding a solution to Canterbury's traffic problems is a significant challenge.

"The Westgate Towers scheme will be removed at the end of the trial period next month, and there will then be a thorough review."

Built in 1380, the grade-I listed archway structure was the main entrance for vehicles entering Canterbury.

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