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Councillor expresses anxiety for Westgate Towers Traffic Trial continuation during Archbishop’s enthronement

A Canterbury councillor has declared her anxiety at Canterbury’s ability to cope with the influx of people when the new Archbishop is enthroned this month.

Councillor Ida Linfield, who resides over Westgate in Canterbury, said at the council’s Joint Transportation Board meeting on Tuesday evening that she believes the recent 12-month Westgate Towers Traffic Trial will cause chaos if it is not ended before Archbishop Justin Welby’s enthronement.

She said: “We already know that Canterbury grinds to a halt. I have raised questions about whether it would be a good idea to pull the trial early and was told no because apparently the Archbishop’s enthronement is only going to be like an ordinary Christmas day service.

“First of all, it’s not on Christmas day. The courts, businesses, shops and offices will be open. The university and school students will be here. We may even have extra people coming into the city to see the enthronement. We have one car park being made over to the media and we’ve also got some of the great and the good coming.”

The ceremony will be held in Canterbury Cathedral, with 2,000 people set to attend. Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron are among the VIP guests thought to be attending.

Ms Linfield raised several concerns: “I personally think it looks awful at the moment with sandbags everywhere and it’d be nice to sort of tidy up with visitors coming,” adding that she was “seriously concerned” that this could cause real problems.

She said: “If we’re stopping the trial anyway, can we not stop it earlier and ensure that we do not end up with egg on the city council’s face and on the county council’s face because we’ve messed up over an enthronement of an Archbishop when arguably the eyes of the world will be looking at Canterbury.”

The trial’s 12-month run is currently due to expire at the end of March. No decision has been made as to whether the trial should continue or be stopped immediately.

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