Traffic will be banned at weekends in Manchester’s gay village to improve safety for revellers.

Residents and local businesses have given their support to pedestrianise Sackville Street on Friday and Saturday nights.

The street will be closed to traffic between its junctions with Brazil Street and Richmond Street, creating a large pedestrianised zone that also includes Canal Street.

A trial in 2009 found that the number of road accidents and crimes in the area was reduced.

If backed by a council executive meeting next week, the scheme will begin in April and bollards will be erected.

The scheme is expected to cost £50,000.
Councillor Pat Karney, Manchester city council city centre spokesman, said: “Manchester’s gay village attracts thousands of people from all over the world to the city centre, and this scheme will encourage even more visitors to come and enjoy the excellent pubs and clubs we have on offer.”

Greater Manchester Police Chief Inspector John McNeil said: “This is something that we would support. The pedestrianisation of Sackville Street would add to the safety of the village and allow people to enjoy the night life of the area while remaining safe.”

The plans were also welcomed by Andrew Stokes, chairman of the Village Business Association.

He said: “The pedestrianisation of Sackville Street will have a positive impact on thousands of people’s experience of the gay village as a leisure destination. The VBA supports the proposals and looks forward to its introduction in 2012.”