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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 16:37 GMT
Traders threaten to blockade town
A driver goes the wrong way on Globe Lane
Police helped confused drivers on the two-way switchover day
Traders are threatening to form a blockade around a town centre unless changes are made to a new road system in time to save Christmas trade.

Businesses in Chatham, Kent, claim they have lost several thousand pounds worth of trade since the new two-way ring road was introduced in September.

But following a public meeting on Thursday, Medway Council said traders' claims were counter to its surveys.

It said it would discuss next week how to address the traders' concerns.

Medway Council has acknowledged the complaints of lost trade and is to hold a six-week public consultation on opening access onto Medway Street from Globe Lane.

'Serious concerns'

It said if the consultation showed widespread support the road could be open as early as January 2007.

But Carl Davis, 48, owner of Davis Motors in Rochester, said by that time businesses would have lost Christmas trade.

"It was suggested at last night's meeting that there was a strong possibility we could blockade Chatham one Saturday morning if the council don't do something this side of Christmas."

Confusion on Railway Street
Some motorists found the new road system in Chatham confusing

Medway Council said more than 100 traders attended Thursday's meeting.

Robin Cooper, director of regeneration and development at the council, said: "A lot of serious concerns were raised by traders at the meeting.

"As a result a meeting of senior council officers involved with the road project will be held early next week to decide how best these issues are addressed."

Mr Davis said traders had formed a committee which would be holding its own meeting on Saturday to decide what to do next.

The two-way traffic system is designed to aid the regeneration of Chatham town centre.

Phase two of the road project, which is expected to take place in 2007, includes demolition of the flyover, new car parks and a new bus station.

"We want to keep the flyover and make it a complete two-way system," Mr Davis said.


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