A new one-way system, more pedestrian space and a host of other major changes will be introduced to Stratford town centre to support non-essential retailers to re-open from 15th June.
The temporary scheme is designed to support retailers to re-open safely and provide shoppers with confidence to visit the town centre again.
A big concern shared by most businesses has been finding the space on Stratford’s major streets for shoppers to maintain social distancing measures and to queue safely.
While the scheme outlined by the district and county and town councils this week falls short of the full pedestrianisation of the town centre some were hoping for, the changes are nonetheless very significant.
The new one way traffic system will see 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.
A 20mph speed limit will be imposed in the town centre and changes will be made to pedestrian crossings.
All this will come with additional barriers and cones, but the councils have plans to work with local art groups to improve the look of the new street furniture, in order to try and maintain Stratford’s distinctive look and feel.
As hospitality businesses open, the space created may allow them to increase their outside tables to accommodate the social distancing requirements.
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.”
Councillor Jeff Clarke, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for Transport and Planning, added: “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.”