Coronavirus: Work in place to boost town centre recovery

COUNCILS are working together to help High Streets bounce back when businesses begin reopening from Monday (June 15).

Staffordshire County Council’s highways team is working with the county’s borough and district authorities to prepare shopping streets and town centre areas for social distancing and hygiene requirements for when customers return, as well as promoting walking and cycling routes.

Helen Fisher, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for Transport and Highways, said: "Borough and district councils have been allocated money to support town centres emerging from lockdown and we are working with them to help where we can.

"For example, there is the possibility to close car parking bays to widen pavements to allow pedestrian segregation while people are passing each other or queuing for shops.

"And we’re considering with local councils where signs are needed to create one-way pedestrian streets and remind people about social distancing and hygiene.”

Examples being implemented by the borough and district councils include signs being installed at prominent locations in Burton and Uttoxeter, or at car parks, reminding people of guidance, some pavements will be marked one-way to create space for businesses to allow queuing in the street, and benches and bus shelters will have additional cleaning.

Coun Fisher continued: "We’re also looking at how we can prioritise walking and cycling routes into town centres in line with our existing development plans to promote environmentally-friendly alternatives to travelling by car.”

Businesses have already had advice made available to them from several sources, including the British Retail Consortium, but more information on all the above will shortly be provided via a new Staffordshire County Council Highways Covid-19 webpage. This includes links to further guidance, FAQs and a ‘report-it’ function for potential ‘hot-spot’ locations where it’s hard to maintain social distancing.

Coun Fisher added: "From Monday there will be a step back towards normality with many ‘non-essential’ shops reopening, but it’s up to people to make this work by following the spirit of social distancing.

If we’re polite, patient and use common sense we can work together to help our High Street businesses and keep infection rates down.”

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