MOST towns and cities develop their central roads to help people make the most popular journeys in the shortest possible time.

The idea is to give motorists the easiest possible access to tourist attractions, shopping malls and places where large numbers of people work.

That’s the principle that applies elsewhere – but clearly not in Blackburn.

As a borough resident of many years the tortuous traffic system really does seem to be constantly being altered with just one aim in view – to ensure it never becomes easy for drivers to get into the town centre.

During the past few weeks we’ve seen the southbound side of Penny Street turn into a ‘bus only’ route – half way along so unsuspecting drivers suddenly have to perform a U turn.

If that’s a little strange the latest changes which will seriously affect those who approach Blackburn along Preston Old Road are plain barmy.

The reversal of traffic flow in King Street means motorists who are heading in a straight line towards the revamped shopping centre will suddenly be forced to make a 45 degree turn and head either north or south.

Lots of money has been spent during the past few years doing up King Street because it was a ‘gateway’ to the town.

Now it will be an exit route only.

What’s doubly amazing, and disappointing, about these changes is that no coherent reason has been given for why they are needed except that traffic turning north will be forced into Fielden Street where the council decided to build a multi-storey car park a few years ago.

That car park would be great for students at Blackburn College (if they could afford it) but no-one but an athlete will park there to go to The Mall.

Perhaps the idea is that strangers will be conned into using it because they think they are in the centre of town... Maybe, but they’ll only do it once.

Coun Dave Harling, the council’s regeneration chief, said: “I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but there will be parking on the road out of town.”

Surely the idea is that it SHOULD be easy. And how many towns do you know where you have to follow a bizarre one-way system into the centre and then begin your journey home before you are able to park?

The system will go ‘live’ as the new market opens.

Enough said.