Hexham's one-way system will briefly cease from December 2 for the Christmas trading period.

This is in line with the commitment by the county council to support residents and businesses during the run up to the busy festive period.

The commitment was made when the town centre improvement works were being planned.

This temporary break will extend until the reinstatement of the one-way system on January 8, 2024.

From then onwards, the last phase of the work will commence, focusing on the north side of the street, and this is projected to last until early Spring 2024.

The affected area will resume to two-way traffic with no permanent changes to highway routes once the scheme is completed.

Hexham's public realm improvement scheme aims to breathe new life into the town centre, and is focussing on the key corridor of Priestpopple, Cattle Market and Battle Hill.

The plan includes upgrading walkway materials, boosting pedestrian safety, incorporating new planters and trees and reworking the on-street parking.

The fresh configuration will accommodate an accessible parking bay, an electric vehicle charging point and larger bays.

Work on the public realm scheme is progressing swiftly as extra teams have been working on the southward parts of Priestpopple, Battle Hill and Cattle Market to expedite completion.

The enhancements are part of over £2.4m investment bolstering the town centre through the Hexham High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ), delivered by Northumberland County Council in partnership with Historic England.

The HSHAZ aspires to inject vibrancy and pull into the town, while further leveraging the Conservation Area status of the town centre.

Northumberland County Councillor Wojciech Ploszaj, cabinet member for Supporting Business and Opportunities said:  “Christmas is always a really busy time so temporarily removing the one-way system during this period will make life easier for both traders and the public and help support local businesses.

“We have made good progress on the scheme and it is great to see entire sections completed and looking significantly better than before.

“We really appreciate the patience of residents and businesses. It’s not always easy but it is the only way to get the work done quickly and safely and bring much needed improvements to the streetscape of this beautiful and historic town.”