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Martin Kirby Column; Night Howls, Parking Punctuation and Access All Areas

By Moanagram  |  Posted: November 16, 2012

  • Questionable sign

  • Proposed triangle development

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Thankfully I don't have to do it very often, but a few times recently I've been in the centre of Gloucester of an evening and I can tell you it's not for the faint-hearted. I mention it because by the time you read this, we should have an elected Police and Crime Commissioner for the county and there was also a 'Nightsafe' meeting earlier in the week, where various bods chat about what can be done to make Gloucester a safer pace to socialise at night.

We are constantly told we shouldn't feel uneasy when walking around the city centre after dark but I reckon anyone who says that has either never been out at night, or had difficulty seeing through their rose-tinted spectacles.

Of course, this is a national problem, not something exclusive to our city and I'm sure Gloucester is no worse – and probably much better – than other places, but to pretend the problem doesn't exist is sheer stupidity. So what exactly is 'the problem'?

To be honest, it's mostly about perception. While the fear of something happening is often unfounded, that doesn't make the fear any less real and such fears are born out of a lack of visible police presence combined with mind-bogglingly soft punishment for offenders.

I was in the city centre last Saturday and even though it was quite early, between 8 and 9pm, to say I did not enjoy the experience would be an understatement. Let's be clear, I was not attacked or even threatened in any way but the point is; I believed I could have been, so instead of feeling comfortable in what is my 'home town', I felt intimidated and couldn't get away fast enough. If that's how other visitors feel, it's no wonder pubs are closing through lack of trade.

Because it was too early for clubbing, most of the main streets were deserted. But every side-road, alleyway and large shop doorway was filled with youngsters just hanging around, looking for any kind of entertainment they could find. Most of their 'entertainment' seemed to consist of pushing and shoving each other while laughing and swearing through a haze of cigarette smoke and booze. The various shouts of abuse may not have been directed specifically at me, but I wasn't inclined to stop and find out.

The sad thing is that it wasn't so much a case of being frightened as feeling that I'd strayed into their territory and needed to keep a low profile. It's my city, the city I grew up in – yet I felt like I didn't belong. Despite paying our taxes and in many cases, served in the armed forces, people of my generation feel they cannot walk the streets in safety. That really IS frightening.


Apparently, new machines are being installed in the King's Walk and Eastgate Shopping Centre multi-storeys car parks and drivers will now have to pay when they arrive, or else use a 'cashless' service by setting up an account and calling a payment line.

The new system won't make a great deal of difference to me but I just hope any new signs installed will be grammatically correct, unlike the one I photographed in Oxford, the home of the English Dictionary. 

'Have you paid and displayed' is a question and therefore should read; 'Have you paid and displayed?' Or am I being old-fashioned?


Whatever else happens with the Railway Triangle, I hope the contractor's entrance off Metz Way will not be the only way in and out when the development is finished. The road is practically at a standstill at peak times as it is. Traffic emerging from a Morrisons supermarket, a pub, a restaurant, takeaways and a car showroom on to an already busy Metz Way would be a nightmare.

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  November 18 2012, 12:26PM

    Micheal dear boy it was a joke. Where would they connect another entrance into the area, the only other way into the area is Blinkshorn Bridge Lane and I dare say the residence of that area would not be happy with anyone suggesting that their quiet residential road be used as a rat run for the new supermarket. I suppose if you closed the railway line you could build a road on the track bed and create a junction onto Barnwood or Painswick roads or maybe both. Many years ago there where rumors about Ikea setting up on the railway triangle but that was scuppered as they said the road infrastructure including Metz Way and everything else out to the M5 would not be able to cope with the extra traffic!

    Rate   1
  • Michael_AH  |  November 18 2012, 9:00AM

    how would a junction on the M4 get you to the Railway Triangle? Perhaps you were out and about in Swindon GlosAnarchy and not Gloucester?

    Rate   3
  • SandraPee  |  November 18 2012, 8:42AM

    I share Martin's view on access and entry to the Railway Triangle site . Surely planners would have had to have taken that into consideration from day one with it being a totally enclosed site ? It's good that Martin's views on venturing out in the city centre in the evening mirrors the views of a large number of the older population . I'd tend to say that walking about anywhere during the evening by yourself is a worrying problem for many , and that's a sad reflection on society today . As for the omitted question mark on the sign , is that what they call '' dumbing down'' ? Things aren't what they used to be Martin.......... more's the pity .

    Rate   1
  • GlosAnarchy  |  November 17 2012, 11:43PM

    I don't know what part of Gloucester you where walking around but I was out in Gloucester last weekend and I didn't see any of what you are mentioning! Tough that will be the only real entrance apart from the new junction on the M4!

    Rate   1