Plan to shut Birmingham's Aston Expressway for a day is shelved

Written by on September 11, 2019

Plans to close one of Birmingham’s busiest roads for a day have been shelved, the city council has revealed.

A mile of the Aston Expressway – which links the city to the M6 – was to be closed and become a “paved park” to mark International Car Free Day on Sunday 22 September.

But Birmingham City Council’s leader said unresolved “health and welfare concerns” meant the closure would have to be postponed.

It will now take place in spring 2020.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service said Labour leader Ian Ward told a full council meeting on Tuesday: “In spite of the best endeavours of everyone involved in this initiative, in the end it was not possible to overcome some of the health and welfare concerns around closing part of the A38 and therefore it has not been possible to proceed with that road closure for Car Free Day.”

Almost 87,000 vehicles use the A38(M) Aston Expressway each day, according to Department for Transport estimates.

The plans had generated a mixed reaction, with some hailing the “bold” move, while others predicted traffic chaos.

And news of the postponement generated similarly mixed response on social media.

Birmingham councillor Liz Clements said it was “hugely disappointing”, adding: ” I will be asking why this initiative was not possible in Birmingham and watching what is done in other cities and towns.”

But Twitter user Majid Khan said: “It was a flawed idea from the start.

“No proper planning or consideration taken into account.”

In a statement, the council said a new date would be announced “at a time when the weather has started to improve”.

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