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High Street barriers set to return

Temporary barriers will return to Stratford’s High Street as more visitors are expected in the town with the easing of coronavirus restrictions and the approach of Easter.

Barriers on Stratford High Street. (43980380)
Barriers on Stratford High Street. (43980380)

The barriers, which were taken down in January, will see the road closed from 11am to 6pm from 29th March.

Their return has always been on the cards, with the county council saying earlier this year that the measures would be reinstated when lockdown ended and crowd control was once again more of an issue.

While the barriers – designed to allow more social distancing – will go back up on 29th March, they will be reviewed again in late May.

However, once up, they are expected to remain in place until at least 21st June.

Throughout all this, the barriers in Bridge Street have remained in place and Warwickshire County Council says these will stay as they are until a review later in the summer.

From 29th March the new rule of six, or two households, will come into effect. Combined with the Easter break, the rule is expected to see the number of people visiting Stratford rise.

Cllr Jeff Clarke, the county council’s portfolio holder for transport and planning, said: “We have been working with our key partners to get Stratford town centre ready to safely reopen.

“We want to do all that we can to support local businesses to make sure that they can get their businesses back up and running while continuing to be vigilant against the spread of the virus.

“We will continue to work with them and take on board any feedback in the coming weeks as we see how the partial reopening of the town takes shape.”

Cllr Matt Jennings, portfolio holder for tourism and economic development at Stratford District Council, said: “Our primary concern and duty is the safety of the public. With this in mind we support the county council’s decision to re-introduce the High Street road closures on a temporary basis from 29th March.

“In line with current projected government guidelines and taking into account that these may change closer to the time, we will review the situation in May.”

Mayor of Stratford Cllr Tony Jackson said: “Our priority is to ensure public safety at all times. As Easter approaches and spring is definitely in the air, it is imperative that we are ready to reopen safely and responsibly as we look forward to welcoming residents and visitors back into town.”

The town centre barrier scheme proved divisive after it was introduced last year, with the measures being changed and adapted several times following criticism from businesses.

In July, 157 town centre businesses signed a petition calling for the barriers’ removal, citing the devastating impact on trade. The look of the scheme has also come in for criticism.

Some attempts were made to smarten up the barriers last summer with the introduction of trees and planters.

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