Lifting of Stratford Town Centre COVID-19 Safety public space reallocation measures to be paused in line with Government roadmap
Plans to remove the temporary measures introduced to support the safe reopening of businesses in and around Stratford town centre have been paused following the Prime Minister’s announcement that restrictions on social contact will remain in place beyond the original date of 21 June.
Works to remove these schemes are now scheduled to be carried out on a revised date of 19 July.
At the last regular review meeting between Warwickshire County Council, as the Highway Authority, Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council, the decision was taken to remove the temporary measures on and around 21 June, the original date when all restrictions were scheduled to be fully eased.
However, with concerns around the Delta variant delaying the national roadmap out of lockdown, the measures will remain in place pending Government guidance on when it will be safe to remove them.
The temporary scheme, which has been adapted throughout the year in line with changing guidance and needs of local businesses, included the introduction of barriers on Bridge Street to increase space for pedestrians and shoppers and suspension of parking on the street. High Street has seen timed closures between 11am-6pm.
To minimise disruption, the works on Bridge Street are now scheduled to take place overnight from 19-21 July. High Street will fully reopen to traffic on 19 July.
Councillor Wallace Redford, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for Transport and Planning, said:
“Throughout the lifespan of this scheme we have been ready to adapt swiftly to changing Government guidance. That remains the case and while there is concern over the rate of spread of the Delta variant, we need to do all that we can to support social distancing which remains key to limiting the spread of the virus. We have been clear that this would guide our timeline for removing the measures in the town centre. That does mean, though, that our initial plans to remove the scheme will need to be rescheduled.
“We would like to reassure all businesses and those who use the town centre that we will undertake this work as soon as the Government’s guidance indicates that it is safe to do so. At present, that date is the 19th July and that is what we will be working towards. We would like to thank all partners for their patience and support.”
Daren Pemberton, portfolio holder for Place and Economy at Stratford District Council, and Kevin Taylor, Mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council, both totally agree with the stance taken by WCC today and said:
“We must continue to observe the government’s timeframe whilst living as normal a life as possible during the continued restrictions. The measures were put in place to keep us safe and it would be irresponsible to remove them whilst social distancing is still paramount.”
Local partners announced, when the initial date of 21 June was pencilled in for the full removal of measures that, while the removal of the scheme will see a return to pre-pandemic traffic management, there is an early opportunity to make some of the benefits realised over the last 12 months permanent.
The temporary speed reduction in and around the town centre to 20mph, will be made permanent, having met with a high level of approval among local residents and businesses. The necessary legal process to obtain a Traffic Regulation Order has been started and is being funded through a S.106 developer contribution by Pragnells Ltd.
In addition, the feedback of businesses on High Street who have benefitted from the timed closure of High Street, allowing extra space for tables and chairs outside, has been very positive.
Those businesses looking to apply for a street café licence should go to https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/cafelicence, those looking for a pavement licence should go to https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/licences-businesses/apply-pavement-licence-outdoor-seating/1 while parking bay suspension guidance can be found at https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/parking after the temporary timed closure comes to an end.