Call to keep streets pedestrianised and help Shrewsbury traders bounce back

A town centre cafe owner has launched a petition to keep Shrewsbury High Street pedestrianised - and help traders bounce back.

Some Shrewsbury town centre streets have been pedestrianised during the day
Some Shrewsbury town centre streets have been pedestrianised during the day

The High Street is currently closed to traffic from 11am to 4pm, and the move has given coffee shops and restaurants the opportunity to put out tables and bring a sense of European cafe culture to the town.

The decision to close the street to traffic was taken firstly with social distancing in mind. But Gwen Burgess, owner of Darwin's Sandwich Evolution in Shoplatch, believes it has been a very popular change with both traders and visitors to the town centre, and hopes the daytime measures can remain in the brighter months.

She wrote to Shropshire Council's transport boss Steve Charmley and a number of other key people to seek clarity over decision.

With stage four of the government's road map remaining uncertain, it could take time before a decision is made on the High Street. A major part of Shrewsbury's Big Town Plan would include pedestrianising a number of areas and keeping traffic out of the town.

Gwen was keen to see how many would back a move to keep the traffic measures.

She wrote: "Could you please clarify the situation regarding the temporary pedestrianisation in Shrewsbury town centre, which I believe is due to end on June 21?

"On behalf of many traders, visitors and town users, I would like to see the current provisions extended to the end of the summer, and become a permanent feature every year. The shorter hours have worked very well, and allowed access for the town to all users, including deliveries, services, buses - as well as pedestrians and cyclists."

Gwen Burgess wants the pedestrianisation to continue during the summer months

Former Shrewsbury mayor Gwen believes the current arrangement offers a good level of flexibility, given that traffic can go through the High Street and Shoplatch early in the morning and in the evening, and hopes that it will become a permanent fixture.

Speaking to the Shropshire Star, she said: "The temporary order runs out on June 21 and there hasn't been any indication what's going to happen next.

"It has been really popular, so I can't see why you wouldn't want to keep it. It's been great.

"It's difficult for traders at the moment because you can't make any plans."

An important issue that the traffic changes created was difficulty for residents in the Town Walls area. Several of them felt the increased traffic numbers caused a danger to youngster at schools in the area and pedestrians, due to the narrow streets. They also expressed concerns over pollution and extra noise being caused due to the large numbers of diverted cars and buses that were using the route.

Gwen added: "There are traffic issues in the town centre in Town Walls and St John's Hill, but re-routing bus routes would help those residents."

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