Following a meeting between WCC, Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Stratford Town Council, changes have been made to the roadspace reallocation introduced by the County last summer
It was agreed at the meeting, which also involved the three County Councillors for the town, that the temporary timed closure of the High Street would be taken out for the duration of the current lockdown. High Street was closed using barriers at either end to enable adherence to social distancing rules and for the hospitality sector to use the additional space for outside tables.
Due to the closure of non-essential retail and the hospitality sector, pedestrian footfall is currently so low, the measures are not required. They will, however, be reinstated after restrictions are lifted again.
The temporary measures on Bridge Street will also be suspended in the near future as the County Council agreed to bring forward planned resurfacing works for Bridge Street and Sheep Street. This was originally scheduled for April but the revised earlier date for works to happen will enable the work to be completed while the town is seeing much less traffic and pedestrian use. This work will be carried out in the coming weeks, minimising disruption for when the town centre’s businesses are allowed to reopen.
The temporary 20mph limit will also remain in place.
Cllr Jeff Clarke, portfolio holder for transport and planning at Warwickshire County Council, said: “When we introduced the roadspace reallocation scheme, we were very clear that it was about adapting to changing circumstances and the needs of local residents and businesses. I am pleased that all partners have worked so well together to agree this temporary solution in response to the changing need.
“I’m also pleased to be able to report that the road resurfacing work will be done ahead of schedule. When the town centre is ready to reopen to businesses, that flexible approach means that it can happen with minimal disruption.
Cllr Daren Pemberton, Deputy Leader and Place Portfolio Holder, at Stratford-on-Avon District Council, said: “In light of Lockdown 3.0 the review group took the pragmatic and practical step of suspending the COVID-19 safety measures on High Street, until such time it is deemed safe for retail and hospitality businesses to re-open. At that point there will still be a need for confidence boosting measures, in the form of more public space to safely encourage residents and visitors alike to enjoy Stratford. The measures on Bridge Street require no additional resource to keep in place and so will remain, except during re-surfacing work being undertaken while traffic volumes are relatively low.”
Stratford-upon-Avon Mayor, Cllr Tony Jackson (Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council) said: "It is great to see the councils working together and taking a flexible approach to the current circumstances. Bringing forward the road surfacing of Bridge Street will result in less disruption ready for a relaxation of the current restrictions.
“I am really pleased that the reintroduction of the closure of High Street is still on the agenda. This initiative has proven very popular so far but it is understandable that it is removed during lockdown’.