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1st Aug, 2021

Changes to be made to Stratford town centre Covid safety scheme

CHANGES are being made to the controversial temporary Covid-19 safety measures currently in place around Stratford town centre.

It comes after Stratforward BID members voted 56 per cent in favour of making comprehensive alterations to the current scheme, while 44 per cent voted to scrap the entire scheme. In total 207 businesses voted.

A petition signed by 157 businesses – from major high street names to small independents, tourism and leisure businesses to cafes – was sent to Warwickshire, Stratford district, and Stratford town councils respectively, together with MP Nadhim Zahawi.

Many businesses in the town complained the “catastrophic traffic scheme” failed on every level, from from on-street parking to pedestrian crossing points, and even threatened their survival.

Stratford District Council says the changes being implemented by Warwickshire County Council next week will reflect lessons learned and feedback from residents, businesses and visitors.

County council transport spokesman Jeff Clarke said: “We are working hard to accommodate as many people’s priorities as we can and hope these adaptations will be welcomed by businesses and still provide the element of safety that will give residents and visitors to the town the confidence to go and spend time there and visit the local businesses.”

Alterations to Bridge Street, Wood Street and Greenhill Street will be carried out between 6pm and 10pm on Monday (August 10) and finish the following day.

Work will start on Monday August 17 on Sheep Street, High Street, Chapel Street and Church Street and will involve road closures.

District council leader Daren Pemberton said the updates are part of the ongoing review and consultation to ensure the district is Covid safe while enabling businesses to rebuild.

He said: “The update to Stratford’s Covid safe measures reflect experience on the ground and are being implemented as soon as is practicably possible. The updates enhance what is already a Covid safe and welcoming environment for residents and visitors that will also allow local businesses to maximise opportunities for recovery.”

BID director Joe Baconnet said: “I am confident we finally have a plan that strikes the right balance for businesses, local residents and visitors. Many of our member businesses, already on their knees because of lockdown, believed passionately that the Covid traffic scheme was making their efforts to try recover their livelihoods’ impossible. Others felt that it was essential to make Stratford look and feel as safe as possible, in order to try to encourage consumer confidence and entice people back into the town centre.

“Following weeks of discussions, meetings, surveys and monitoring, I think what we have now agreed takes account of both these stances. We have only been able to get to this point thanks to the huge efforts of our members engaging passionately with key local stakeholders.”

The changes will include removing all aspects of the temporary scheme and reinstating permanent signs and markings on Sheep Street, Chapel Street, Wood Street, Greenhill Street, with the exception of the temporary bus stop on Wood Street.

On Union Street the temporary scheme will stay in place and on Bridge Street two way traffic will be reinstated with additional space created for social distancing.

All cones will be removed on the Gyratory but the 20mph limit will remain in place.

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