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Revealed: Transformation plans for Shropshire's town centres to welcome back visitors

By Dominic Robertson | Shrewsbury | Coronavirus | Published:

Shropshire's towns are set to be transformed with temporary one-way systems, cycle routes and social distancing measures as part of plans to reopen retail.

One of the signs people will be seeing across the county

Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Oswestry, Ellesmere, Whitchurch, Wem, Bishop’s Castle, Market Drayton, Much Wenlock, Church Stretton, Cleobury Mortimer, Albrighton and Broseley, have all been visited by Shropshire Council officials who are looking at measures for when businesses reopen next month.

Plans include new signs, more cycle-friendly routes, road markings, car park changes, and temporary road closures and one way systems – to ensure people can maintain safe social distancing.

In Shrewsbury plans include social distancing measures on Victoria Quay, Pride Hill and High Street, as well as a trial contraflow cycle lane on New Street and one on Castle Street.

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Oswestry could see Church Street become one way, creating space for pedestrians, with a similar plan for King Street in Ludlow.

High streets in Whitchurch, Wem, Church Stretton and Bishop's Castle could also be closed to traffic or switched to-one-way.

In Much Wenlock there are similar plans for Wilmore Street, while the council is also looking to create space for pedestrians on roads in Ellesmere, Market Drayton, and Albrighton.

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Representatives from Shropshire Council and Albrighton Parish Council who met to discuss the issue

Steve Davenport, Shropshire Council's cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "We’ve been working hard over the past couple of weeks to review our town centres and consider what changes and improvements could be made. We’re visiting each of the main market towns and holding discussions with local councillors and partners.

“These are proposed actions with more detail still to be added following our assessments, and what and how much we’re able to bring forward will depend on funding, resources and further design work.

“We’ll announce our final plans for each town as soon as everything is agreed and confirmed.

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Confidence

“Initially we’ll implement schemes as trials or temporary measures, and we’ll regularly monitor and review them to help determine if they should be made permanent in the future.”

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for assets, economic growth and regeneration added: "With many shops starting to reopen from 15 June we want to ensure that people can visit and support our town centres and their traders, while following the social distancing rules.

“Our aim is to support public safety, build confidence in our town centres, and work with our partners to identify possible improvements and allow the economy to recover. In short, we want to encourage people to visit our market towns and support our traders, and we’ll do whatever we can to help make this possible, in line with the latest regulations, and in close collaboration with our partners, local businesses and local councillors."

A spokesman for the council added: "Additional cycle parking countywide is also being considered, along with the reallocation of road space, removal or relocation of parking and loading to alleviate pedestrian conflict and social distancing issues, as well as the issue of queuing at banks, ATMs and bus stops.

"All of the schemes will be temporary but Shropshire Council will monitor and evaluate each one to see if there is a positive impact that would justify possible future permanent solutions."

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