TEMPORARY changes including a one way traffic system and more space for pedestrians are planned in Stratford to help the town re-open and recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
Warwickshire County Council, Stratford District Council and Stratford Town Council have worked together to produce a temporary scheme which will provide additional space for pedestrians to safely move around, for customers to queue outside shops and for businesses to expand to meet customer needs.
The proposed scheme includes the introduction of a one-way system with 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 while allowing pedestrians to move safely.
It is also proposed to introduce a 20mph speed limit in the town centre and to make changes to pedestrian crossings.
Traffic management equipment such as cones and barriers will be used to segregate people from traffic.
The councils also have plans to work with local art groups to consider options for improving the appearance of barriers to ensure the distinctive look and feel of the town can be retained.
As hospitality businesses open, the space created may allow them to increase their outside tables to accommodate the social distancing requirements.
The changes will be advertised in a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order in the near future with the aim of introducing the scheme to coincide with the reopening of non-essential shops from June 15.
Stratford District Council leader Tony Jefferson 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.”
Stratford mayor and town councillor Tony Jackson 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.”
County transport and planning spokesman Coun Jeff Clarke 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.”