Work on one-way scheme in Hemel’s Old Town will start within weeks

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Work to banish traffic jams from Hemel Hempstead’s historic Old Town will start within weeks.

Long-awaited plans to create a one-way traffic system in the High Street in a bid to boost business and make the area a more attractive place for shoppers are pushing ahead after years of planning

The changes – expected to be in place by April at the latest – will allow more space for pedestrians and parking.

Herts County Council has posted notice of the traffic orders required to make the changes, first suggested back in 2008. Once these legal orders have been agreed work will begin.

When people were asked for their views on the scheme last year, more than two thirds of those questioned were in favour of it. They included Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning, who this week told the Gazette: “I have been calling for it for eight or nine years now.

“I just think it is one of the ways we can regenerate the retail part of the Old Town.”

The one-way system was originally expected to have been up and running by late 2011 or early this year.

Under the scheme motorists will travel one way up the High Street from Queensway to Piccotts End. Wider paving, seating and signage, along with a bus stop and taxi rank will be installed. There will be a pedestrianised events area for markets, fairs and other activities.

The proposal will also see the Conservation Area boundary changed, removing the west side of Gadebridge Park but adding the areas behind several properties, including restaurant Albertos and pubs The Olde Kings Arms and The Old Bell.