Ambulance blocked after roads closed in Penrith for social distancing

An ambulance crew responding to call were forced perform a U-turn after their path was blocked due to a controversial road closure in Penrith.

Cumbria County Council says restrictions in place on the A6, leading into the centre of the town, are “essential to maintaining the latest public health guidance regarding COVID-19”.

But just hours after the road was closed off to vehicles, an ambulance had to turn around and find an alternative route while attending an emergency.

Credit: ITV News

Since the incident, a spokesperson for North West Ambulance Service said: “While responding to a patient at around 10am an ambulance crew came across a road closure in Penrith town centre that they were unable to pass.

"They turned around to divert to an alternative route.

“This was immediately fed back to our Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and all other crews in the area were made aware of the road closure.”

“There was no significant delay caused and the ambulance arrived with the patient within a few minutes of the 999 call being made.”

Credit: ITV News

Several traders have voiced their anger that the road is closed after only a few days of reopening their businesses - one compared the road closure to Fort Knox.

He said: "It's damned impossible to get into the town centre, although they promised access for emergency services, disabled and elderly and deliveries. But, it's nearly enough impossible to gain access."

Cumbria County Council says the restrictions will be "kept under review, in line with changing government guidance”.

A spokesperson said: “These are temporary measures and many town centres up and down the country are taking similar steps to ensure public safety.

"Providing this additional space within the town centre is especially important to allow those who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 to access local services and return to some level of normality, but of course improve safety for all.

“The changes follow discussion with local partners. We recognise that local businesses may have concerns about the impact on customer footfall but we are working closely with all local partners to mitigate any impacts and make the town centre an attractive and accessible shopping location.

"This is about ensuring Penrith is able to fully reopen for business safely."