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Easter bank holiday traffic sees town's roads grind to a halt

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: April 23, 2014

By Carolyn Bointon

  • Tourist traffic snakes its way slowly through Ashbourne over the bank holiday weekend.

  • DEGM20140418B-033_C.JPG DEGM20140418B-033_C.JPG Picture by: Geoff Merryweather

  • DEGM20140418B-034_C.JPG DEGM20140418B-034_C.JPG Picture by: Geoff Merryweather

  • Traffic solid from the top of Buxton Road onto St John Street.

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ASHBOURNE town centre ground to a halt once again over Easter, as large numbers of vehicles attempted to pass through en route to tourist hotspots such as Dovedale and Bakewell.

Traffic was queuing back up Clifton Road as far as Fairways Garden Centre at midday on Friday, and past the A52 roundabout at the top of Derby Hill.

In town, there were solid jams through the one-way system, leading from Dig Street junction to the top of Buxton Road. Many travellers took to Twitter to express their frustration.

@SirTanty said: "Free advice for anyone wanting to go through #Ashbourne in Derbyshire today. Don't. Massive traffic queues. #gridlock #bankholidaytraffic."

@xCountMeInx tweeted: "Stuck at a standstill outside #Ashbourne."

And @Colonel_Oiseau wrote: "If ever a town needed a by-pass, it's Ashbourne. #gridlock."

A recent survey published by the Ashbourne Plan team showed that, out of 3,000 responses from Ashbourne residents, nearly a third of them picked out transport as one of the negative aspects of life in the town.

The study, which will be used to shape the future of the town, found that a large number of people were unhappy about the volume of traffic and feared the congestion that new homes might bring.

According to official figures, Ashbourne's busiest junction, at the bottom of Derby Hill, sees nearly 13,000 vehicles pass through daily.

That equates to 600 vehicles an hour – one every six seconds – making its way through the junction.

It has also been estimated that one lorry every 70 seconds winds its way through the town centre and, over several decades, this has prompted calls for a bypass.

Ashbourne's MP, Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, said he hoped Government funding might find its way to the town.

He said: "The residents of Ashbourne have every right to expect good transport.

"I have a responsibility to all regions but I regard it as essential that the vibrant communities of the East Midlands can compete with the best of them.

"We've devolved decision-making around local transport investment to Local Enterprise Partnerships.

"There is £2 billion a year available for that investment and I hope Ashbourne will benefit from it."

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