Police have accepted they are responsible for enforcing traffic regulations on two pedestrianised town centre streets that are being used as rat-runs during the Severn Trent sewer works.
There was confusion when resident Mr John Pollard tried to get Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottinghamshire Police to enforce the regulations on Baldertongate.
Each organisation continually referred him to the other until the Advertiser raised the issue.
Police initially assured the newspaper that failing to comply with a restriction on vehicles entering a pedestrian zone (moving traffic Convention Code 53) was subject to civil enforcement and so the responsibility of the county council.
But when the council and the Advertiser challenged that view, it was revealed to be correct only in some London boroughs following a change in the law.
Inspector Louise Clarke, neighbourhood policing inspector for Newark and Sherwood, said: “We are aware of the issue of drivers ignoring traffic restrictions by driving through both Cartergate and Baldertongate.
“Discussions with our partners are under way to try to identify a long-term solution to the issue, while being mindful of the need to maintain access for disabled blue badge holders and genuine trade deliveries.
“Our officers have monitored the Cartergate area and taken action where appropriate. On the night of Saturday, March 24 our officers addressed the issue by stopping a number of vehicles over a two-hour period.
“The pedestrianised areas are busy areas so we need to work together with our partners to make it safer for pedestrians as well as warning drivers that they need to be more mindful of their actions or they will face penalties for offences.”
The Advertiser previously reported that Cartergate was being used as a cut-through by motorists trying to avoid queues that build up around the one-way system.
'It certainly is not something new'
Mr Pollard said the pedestrianised part of Baldertongate, which links to Cartergate, had worse problems.
“Baldertongate is being used as a rat-run more than Cartergate,” said Mr Pollard.
“It has got worse since the works began on the sewerage system but it certainly is not something new.”
The restrictions in place on Baldertongate and Cartergate mean no vehicle access between 10am and 4pm, apart from drivers with access-granted green badges. Vehicles have access for delivering and loading between 4pm and 10am.
Mr Pollard said he had been trying to get someone to take responsibility for enforcing the restrictions since last year.
Mr Peter Goode, traffic manager at Via East Midlands, which manages the highways network on behalf of the county council, said: “The traffic restrictions on Baldertongate have been in place for many years and are there for the safety of all road users. They are similar to those used in many town centres where there is high pedestrian footfall.
“The police are ultimately responsible for taking enforcement action against vehicles in breach of these restrictions. We are speaking to the police about how best this can be enforced.”
Another Newark resident, Mr David Hall, a retired police officer, said: “I saw two young males with no crash helmets and no protective clothing riding what looked like a ‘track’ motorcycle with no number plate, travelling at a very high speed through Cartergate and eventually into Baldertongate.
“There were many people walking on Cartergate at the time but that appeared to be of no concern to either.”