Letter: Minister Road - should be closed to traffic

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My wife and I are writing to you to express our concern about the significant increase in traffic using Minster Road in Ripon.

We have lived alongside Minster Road for just over two years. Both of us work for the cathedral, myself as a verger and my wife as PA to John Dobson, the Dean of the Cathedral. We regard ourselves as people holding responsible positions in the community and we have no political allegiances.

It is very clear to us that the volume of traffic using Minster Road has shot up considerably in the time that we have been here. We see this each day as a result of living and working close by. Our cottage sits right on the corner of Minster Road looking down upon it.

The traffic using this road is not simply delivery vehicles for the Old Deanery, or members of staff and congregation using the cathedral, or the bin men. Far from it.

Everyone uses it, including juggernauts, driving schools, private vehicles, commercial vehicles and taxis. In short, the road is very clearly being used as a “rat run” by all and sundry.

And yet there is a solution. Ripon boasts an excellent by-pass which, to our thinking, was intended to alleviate the kind of traffic volumes that are now using Minster Road. The truth is, people are lazy and are creatures of habit - they would rather take a direct route via Minster Road from one side of town to the other, rather than take a few extra minutes to negotiate several sets of traffic lights to get onto the bypass which goes round the city.

If this were just any old road, then I wouldn’t even bother sending you this email. But it is not. This is a road which cuts through the heart of the Cathedral Quarter - running as it does alongside an early settlement site of strong historic and spiritual interest and the site of North Yorkshire’s only cathedral.

When you take into account the fact that some 95,000 visitors a year have to cross Minster Road to get to and from the cathedral (either via Kirkgate, a restricted zone for traffic, or from Sainsbury’s car park and adjoining walkway) you’ll appreciate why we are concerned about the increased volume of traffic coming into conflict with pedestrians.

To our way of thinking, the risks of a possible accident occurring are increasing daily. Of the 95,000 people accessing the cathedral each year, many are elderly and not quick on their feet. We have our share of disabled people. Many are children, attending rehearsals and evensong as choristers.

It is our belief that if nothing is done, this traffic will increase still further when

a) the Aldi store is built just down the road;

b) the Marks and Spencer site is developed, which is also just down the road;

c) further development takes place in and around the Cathedral Quarter as part of the cathedral and city long term planning.

So with all this in mind, we would like to submit a plea for the authorities to close off Minster Road to through traffic.

Bollards could be placed immediately opposite the public toilets where there is a street light. This would afford access to the Old Deanery and the Dean and Chapter car park at one end. Access to Minster House, the cathedral and Kirkgate would be via the other side of the bollards, using Bedern Bank.

Could we ask that councillors take on board our comments and at the very least consider some form of positive action?

Philip and Judith Bustard

Minster Road, Ripon