Plans to permanently pedestrianise an area of Ramsbottom have been dropped after threats of legal action and opposition from businesses and residents.

A proposal to turn Square Street into a pedestrian zone as part of the Ramsbottom Town Plan has been deemed "no longer viable".

During the pandemic, the street was closed to vehicles between Smithy Street and Bridge Street after a temporary traffic regulation order was put in place in 2020.

Bury Times: Square Street

This was welcomed by hospitality venues as it allowed them to operate according to social distancing measures.

But, this was a temporary measure to help businesses and plans to permanently pedestrianise have sparked controversy and access concerns for emergency services and waste vehicles.

Ramsbottom Cllr Gareth Staples-Jones said:  “Overall the majority of the public and businesses were in favour of the plans, which we felt would pull people into Ramsbottom but there was some opposition from businesses and residents and as a local council we have to take that into consideration.

Bury Times: Cllr Pilkington and Cllr O'Brien speaking to residents, business owners and managers about the

“Sadly to go forward with the plans we needed unanimous support which we don’t have."

Cllr Tom Pilkington paid a visit to Square Street alongside Cllr Staples-Jones and Bury Council leader, Cllr Eamonn O’Brien, to talk to businesses and residents about the proposal.

Following the visit, at a full council meeting, Cllr O’Brien said the plan "no longer seemed viable" and that "creativity" will need to be used to find an alternative use for the space.

Bury Times: Cllr Pilkington and Cllr O'Brien speaking to residents, business owners and managers about the

He said: “There is a challenge with Square Street to make that work.

"I was of the belief, and I know that was shared by members and other supporters of the plan, that we could find a way to implement a permanent pedestrianisation, but it ultimately would have required unanimous consent and support of businesses and residents.

"Sadly, that was not possible and in fact, there were some businesses threatening legal action against it, which we would have been unlikely to win, as well as some residents expressing concerns. So the permanent proposals no longer seem viable.

Bury Times: Cllr Pilkington and Cllr O'Brien speaking to residents, business owners and managers about the

Read more: Ramsbottom residents and restaurants rally to block high street plans

"However, I think some alternative plans can be looked at to support the businesses of Square Street. Perhaps not in a permanent pedestrianisation way, but looking at temporary spaces, temporary licences, events and whatnot to try and make use of that space, which has been well used during the recovery of the Covid lockdowns.”

Officers and Cllr O'Brien will be meeting with local councillors this month to provide a update on the town plan.

Cllr Staples-Jones added: “We will be working with businesses on Square Street to coordinate temporary event notices which would mean we can still close the street to traffic for short periods of time.

“We can also now focus on other areas of the town plan like the public space development. Ramsbottom is currently without a public square or events space on Union Street and the £2.1m road safety improvements as part of our successful City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement bid.”