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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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Cumbria police tell drivers to heed roadworks signs - or risk fine

Police are warning motorists to drive safely in Cockermouth or risk a fine and penalty points.

Sean Prince photo
Sgt Sean Prince

Long-running roadworks began at the start of March as part of a £1.7m project.

Main Street is currently closed between Sullart Street and Station Street.

Following a number of near misses, police have issued a warning to drivers.

The problem area is in the area of South Street, Station Road and Sullart Street.

Motorists driving from South Street to Sullart Street are regularly ignoring restrictions, causing delays to other road users.

A police spokeswoman said that a common problem was drivers incorrectly turning left from Sainsbury’s onto South Street, including one near miss at 5.20pm on Saturday.

Sergeant Sean Prince said: “Officers will be proactively monitoring the situation over the next few months and drivers could be landed with £50 fine for ignoring direction arrows or a £100 fine and three penalty points on their licence for contravening no-entry signs.

“There have been a number of near misses reported on South Street recently as drivers continue to ignore the restrictions.”

Traders in Cockermouth have been struggling during the roadworks, with many traders saying the disruption has forced them to cut staff due to lower takings.

Douglas Baptie of CP Cumbria, which works with people affected by cerebral palsy, revealed its shop in Station Street is losing more than £300 a week.

But Cockermouth Chamber of Trade chairman Andy Walsh said he has had to install extra seating at his Main Street coffee shop to cope with demand.

Cumbria County Council insists the work is vital to improve the surface water drainage system and make the town more flood-resilient in future.

And traders have now been thrown a lifeline after the council announced that Main Street will reopen by the end of June – two months ahead of schedule.

Sue Hannah, owner of Limelighting on Station Road, said that she has stopped a few motorists who she spotted driving in the wrong direction. However, she believes that the majority are confused by the diversions and that they are not purposefully ignoring the road closures.

“On South Street in particular, people are somewhat confused because they don’t know which version (of diversions) is operating this week,” she said. “There are so many arrows, signs and boulders that people just don’t know where to go.

“To get from one end of town to the other is difficult. I think it’s a case they are doing it not to be difficult, but there are possibly one or two ignoring the signs.”

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