Survey shows public back bid to stop cars driving through Shrewsbury's town centre

The idea of cutting the number of cars driving through Shrewsbury's town centre has received overwhelming public support in a survey.

Scenes like this could become a permanent feature of Shrewsbury's High Street if moves are carried out to stop traffic driving through the town centre.
Scenes like this could become a permanent feature of Shrewsbury's High Street if moves are carried out to stop traffic driving through the town centre.

The results could pave the way for more permanent moves to stop cars travelling up Wyle Cop and High Street in the town.

The survey has been carried out as part of recommendations for how the town recovers from the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

Since June this year traffic has been restricted from travelling up Wyle Cop and along High Street, to allow more space for social distancing.

Those restrictions have been lifted during the current lockdown, but are planned to be reinstated between 11am and 4pm when businesses are allowed to reopen this week.

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Now, the survey, run by the Shrewsbury Recovery Taskforce, appears to show public support for measures that would stop cars driving through the centre of the town – with 79 per cent of the 1,400 respondents backing the principle.

The taskforce, made up of representatives from Shropshire Council, Shrewsbury Town Council and Shrewsbury BID, said it has completed a review of the temporary traffic measures implemented since the pandemic began – and will make a series of recommendations for longer-term measures.

The group says it has been carrying out research to find "longer-term ways of reducing traffic without causing adverse impact to the Town Walls area", which has been the diversion route for traffic coming into town over English Bridge.

Peter Nutting, leader of Shropshire Council, said: “The last few months have enabled us to gather vital information and feedback about how closing High Street and Wyle Cop to incoming vehicles has impacted on the town centre.

Opportunities

“The work undertaken by Shrewsbury Recovery Taskforce has involved conversations with residents and businesses, and Shropshire Council as highways authority will continue to work closely with partners to consider next steps.

“Making Shrewsbury easier to access and more enjoyable to move around is one of the biggest opportunities as we continue our recovery.”

Councillor Alan Mosley, Leader of Shrewsbury Town Council, said: “To get nearly 1,500 responses to the survey in such a short period of time was great, and there was a very clear consensus – some 79 per cent – who were either supportive or very supportive of measures to greatly reduce traffic in our town centre.

“So it seems clear that we must give pedestrians priority in the town centre by removing all but essential traffic, to the benefit of Shrewsbury residents, visitors and businesses alike. Any plans will provide easy access for those with a disability, delivery access and will greatly encourage active travel.

“There is an expectation that improvements to public transport will complement these aspirations.”

Kevin Lockwood, vice-chair of Shrewsbury BID, said: “The movement survey showed a clear majority of businesses support measures to reduce through traffic and create a more pedestrian-friendly town centre.

“The evidence from the Government and our industry partners is that the vitality of town centres is increasingly linked to the quality of the experience. We need to do all we can to make the town centre appealing for locals and visitors to come and spend their time and money in Shrewsbury.”

Nat Green, local Shropshire Councillor for Quarry and Coton Hill, said: “Residents of the town centre will welcome this support for removing through traffic, but it needs to be taken further and form the basis of a long-term plan that will take vehicles off our historic streets.”

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