Shrewsbury pedestrianisation trial cut short after criticism

The controversial pedestrianisation trial in Shrewsbury town centre will be cut short after criticism.

Shoplatch in Shrewsbury has been pedestrianised during lockdown
Shoplatch in Shrewsbury has been pedestrianised during lockdown

An experimental pedestrianisation of parts of the town centre is to end on September 1 to enable the measures to be reviewed ahead of a possible further trial, Shropshire Council has said. The measures were introduced in July and had been due to remain in place until October 31.

But the trial drew criticism from several groups. Cafe and restaurant owners said it stopped them making the most of operating outdoor dining, delivery drivers complained about getting tickets after loading bays were restricted, and restrictions on disabled bays also proved unpopular.

Now the council is having a rethink on the measures.

Under the scheme, Wyle Cop (uphill), High Street and Shoplatch are closed to all traffic between 11am and 4pm on weekends, and closed to all traffic other than buses, taxis and cyclists between 11am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.

Milk Street and The Square (southeast side) are closed to traffic from 11am to 4pm every day, and the bus lane has been suspended in Castle Street.

Changes to parking, waiting and loading restrictions are also in place.

The measures on Castle Street will be removed on Thursday, August 26, with normal arrangements – including parking enforcement – resuming from Friday, August 27, in time for the town’s annual Folk Festival.

And the measures on Wyle Cop, High Street and Shoplatch, and in Milk Street and The Square, will be removed on the evening of Monday, August 31, with normal arrangements resuming from Tuesday, September 1.

A statutory consultation into the trial measures is underway and can be found on the Shropshire Council website. People are encouraged to complete the survey to make their views known

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for highways, said: “In short, we’ve decided to pause the trial at the end of August while we consider all views and decide if any changes need to be made to the measures that are in place. This means that the town centre will return to how it was before the pandemic and the introduction of social distancing and other measures.

“The trial has been carried out in an effort to create the best possible environment for the town centre and its businesses to prosper, and to make it more cyclist and pedestrian-friendly.

“Initial feedback tells us that many people and businesses have welcomed the measures, but it also clear that some aren’t happy – notably blue badge holders and some traders – and I sympathise with their comments and concerns.

“We’ll therefore be ending the trial a little earlier than planned to allow us to properly consider all feedback, before deciding what measures could or should be put in place in the future.

“It’s important that we formally consider all views and I encourage people to take part in our online consultation to tell us what they think.

“Once we’ve taken all comments on board we’ll look at running a further, revised, trial in the near future.”

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