I’m sorry to bring up that old chestnut, pedestrianisation again but just in case you haven’t seen this press release from Stratford Council…
‘To assist in the reopening of Stratford Town and the recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Warwickshire County Council, Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council have worked together to produce a temporary scheme which will provide additional space for pedestrians to safely circulate, for customers to queue outside shops and for businesses to expand to meet customer needs.
The proposed scheme includes the introduction of a one-way system with traffic restricted to westbound movements on Bridge Street, Wood Street, Greenhill Street and on Alcester Road between Arden Street and Brunel Way, southbound movements on Rother Street, High Street and Chapel Street and eastbound movements on Sheep Street.
The space created by a combination of lane closures and the suspension of some on-street parking will create areas for customers waiting for shops to queue whilst allowing pedestrians to circulate safely. It is also proposed to introduce a 20mph speed limit in the town centre and to make changes to pedestrian crossings.
Traffic management equipment such as cones and barriers will be used to safely segregate people from motor traffic. The councils have plans to work with local art groups to consider options for improving the appearance of barriers to ensure the distinctive look and feel of the town can be retained.
As hospitality businesses open, the space created may allow them to increase their outside tables to accommodate the social distancing requirements.
The changes will be advertised in a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order in the near future with the aim of introducing the scheme to coincide with the reopening of non-essential shops from 15 June.
Councillor Jeff Clarke, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for Transport and Planning, said:
“We have been working with our key partners to bring forward these plans to temporarily change the road layout to reinvigorate the town centre and support the economic recovery. We have had to act swiftly which has prevented widespread community engagement, but we will be monitoring the scheme carefully and will make any necessary modifications to ensure it remains suitable and appropriate to local needs and conditions.
“The plans will help businesses operate, give the public confidence that they can safely return to use and enjoy the town centre and all it has to offer and give Stratford a much-needed boost.”
Cll Tony Jefferson, Leader of Stratford District Council said, “It was important to take action quickly to enable the town centre to begin to open properly and work as effectively as possible. The next few months will be extremely challenging for town centre businesses and these measures should help them recover.”
Cllr Tony Jackson, Mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon and member of Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council, said: “As we look to move tentatively out of lockdown it is pleasing to see a focus on reallocating road space to encourage cycling and walking, and to enable social distancing. With many options to consider it is understandable that compromises will have been made but the immediate priority must be get something that is workable in place as soon as possible. These temporary measures will provide an excellent opportunity to capture feedback for a possible future permanent solution. I would ask everybody to respect the guidelines and in particular to maintain social distancing.”
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Tel: 01789 267575
First of all I should say I have no major objections to these plans. OK it’s pedestrianisation again but none the less, very thoughtful in these troubled times. I’m just a little bit peeved that they are ‘temporary’ measures.
The idea of making Stratford upon Avon one-way is something that has been needed for a very long time, so the thought that a plague has highlighted the need rather than the thought of folks being poisoned by traffic fumes or indeed being knocked down, is to say the least a bit sad.
The other thought I have (I’m sorry but I have mentioned this before), is I remember the ‘experiment’ in the 70’s (?) that closed High Street for a summer. It happened and although I was in the Garrick for a lot of the time it was deemed by us pedestrians as a success, and then it vanished and no more was said about it. So my suggestion is….do it again.
I can never understand the reluctance to make Stratford upon Avon a healthier place to live in and assume it must be pressure from the business/money-making side of things that doesn’t allow it to happen again. These are different times and we are all better educated in terms of health and the science that is warning us continually to ‘buck up’ and start making some proper choices. I suspect however, even now, sadly this plea will fall on deaf ears.