SAFETY FIRST AS BUSINESSES BRIEFED ON PROPOSED TRAFFIC CHANGES ON WATERSIDE AND SHEEP STREET
Businesses in Stratford are being given their opportunity to input to plans for traffic changes to two busy town centre streets.
Around 30 businesses met with police, safety bosses from Warwickshire County Council and the head of the town’s Business Improvement District (BID) on Wednesday, August 15th to discuss changes to the traffic flow on Waterside and Sheep Street.
The meeting at Stratford’s Town Hall was organised by Stratforward BID to make sure businesses can have their say on the proposed changes, which are part of safety measures being put in place in light of recent incidents elsewhere in the country and the current ‘severe’ terror threat level across the UK.
The first part of planned changes in Stratford were implemented last year on Henley Street and further proposals include the following alterations:-
- Waterside, between the bottom of Sheep Street and Chapel Lane, will become controlled access.
- Sheep Street, from Waterside to the Golden Bee pub, will be one-way up towards High Street.
- Sheep Street from the service yard entrance to High Street will be two way.
- Chapel Lane will have a speed reducing chicane at the bottom to reduce vehicle speeds
- The one way section of Sheep Street will have parking and loading bays both sides of the street.
At the meeting Phil Evans, Head of Community Safety at Warwickshire County Council and Chief Superintendent David Gardiner of Warwickshire Police briefed businesses on the scheme and reasons behind the proposals.
Chief Superintendent David Gardiner said: “The Police are fully supportive of these measures that are aimed at reducing the level of risk and being vigilant. I must stress, there is no intelligence or specific threat towards Stratford, but with the threat level at Severe, we have to take action towards reducing and minimising risk where it has been identified. This is part of a countywide review of places and spaces, so it is not unique to Stratford-upon-Avon.”
Phil Evans outlined the draft scheme and what it entails. He told the meeting that while the scheme is not perfect for everyone, it is the best and most feasible solution to keep Stratford safe and still ensure access to the town centre.
He said: “This scheme is about public safety and reducing risk in known areas where crowds gather. It’s not a traffic management scheme – it is about reducing the impacts of a hostile vehicle attack. We will work with all businesses to try and mitigate the impacts and to understand what your business needs are.”
An experimental order putting suggested changes in place is set to come into play in October, along with the addition of temporary Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) installations. Following a period of consultation, permanent HVM installations will begin in November and December.
Further permanent HVM installations are proposed for Henley Street - which is currently protected by automatic bollards - in April 2019.
One consequence of the scheme is that the Sunday UpMarket on Waterside will no longer be able to operate in that location.
Dave Webb, Executive Director of Stratford on Avon District Council, said that during the experimental period of the order (Oct – Dec), the council is proposing that the UpMarket moves to Bridge Street. During that time there will be a consultation with all businesses to assess the impact.
Joe Baconnet, Director of Stratforward BID, said: “We felt it was important to try to reach as many businesses as possible to give them the information first hand. We’ve been working hard with our partners over the last few months to ensure that the draft scheme meets the needs of town. Each business has unique requirements and that’s why we wanted to get everyone together to start thinking about what this means for their business.”
Stratforward will be producing a summary note for all of its members to review so they can see what the changes may mean for them and raise any issues or concerns.