Cost of installing and maintaining the Stratford town centre Covid road scheme is revealed by Warwickshire County Council
Controversy of the Stratford town centre barricades rumbled on this week as full costs of the Covid-19 road space reallocation scheme were revealed to the Herald.
To date the bill for the installing and maintaining the scheme comes to £301,310. This is in addition to the £192,000 that the council has spent on tarmacking the town centre roads as part of the initiative.
Asked where the money was coming form, a spokesperson for Warwickshire County Council said: “The resurfacing works for the areas around Bridge Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, will be funded from the Warwickshire County Council capital funding allocation for 2020/21.
“The total estimated cost for the COVID-19 road space reallocation scheme in Stratford-upon-Avon, implemented in summer last year, is £301,310. We have received specific government grant funding to support this activity.”
The breakdown of the costs since mid-June 2020 is as follows:
Installation and supply of traffic management equipment (barriers, guardrails etc.) - £97,746
Installation of ancillary works (civils, signs, lines) - £63,000
Maintenance / checking / on site traffic management team and scheme alterations - £140,564
As previously reported by the Herald, the scheme has been vehemently objected to by Stratford businesses who say it has exacerbated the devastating impact of the pandemic.
Town centre business representative Joe Baconnet, director of Stratforward Business Improvement District, responded:
“Prior to the end of the first lockdown we had supported the implementation of measures to help support social distancing.
“However the original scheme, which covered most of the town centre, was much too restrictive and far uglier than anyone imagined. The original scheme had significant impacts on business and it took too long to get it pared back to address those concerns.”
Reacting to the near half million costs spent on the scheme and resurfacing, Mr Baconnet continued: “The costs are huge, but not surprising given that the scheme has been pretty much constantly staffed since its implementation.”
He concluded: “If we're honest, I think most people would have preferred the money to be spent on more permanent changes to the town centre. Having said all that, there are a couple of positives to have come from the scheme - including the widespread, but not universal, support for the High Street timed closures.”
Deputy Stratford District Council leader Daren Pemberton has been a strong advocate of the town centre Covid measures. In response to the published costs, Cllr Pemberton told the Herald:
“The measures were put in place last summer to provide a safer environment for residents and visitors to the town during the pandemic with the costs supported by central government and in those terms were a success.
“We fully support the government’s roadmap and it will be even more important to provide safe spaces and build confidence in users of the town to give our local businesses the best possible chance to rebuild as the economy bounces back.”