Return of traffic to Shrewsbury town centre is criticised by council leader

The return of vehicles to Shrewsbury town centre is a major setback to its prosperity, clogging the streets with traffic rather than shoppers, a civic leader says.

Shrewsbury town centre
Shrewsbury town centre

Councillor Alan Mosley says the unilateral decision of Shropshire Council to return to pre-pandemic traffic flow has angered many town councillors and worried businesses who were enjoying the return of visitors.

He is calling for a traffic ban that had been trialled to be restored, at least for the weekends.

"Castle Street is back to two lanes, Wyle Cop and High Street are clogged with traffic rather than people. This is a major setback for those who wished to see the prosperity of the town continuing to recover and people continuing to return," he said.

Councillor Mosley, the leader of Shrewsbury Town Council, said the decision went against highly successful collaboration working.

"Team Shrewsbury adds great value to the safety, amenities, and wellbeing of residents. More recently the Big Town Plan Board, comprising Shrewsbury Town council, Shropshire Council and the Business Improvement District has brought forward a highly acclaimed 20-year vision for the town," he said.

"During lockdown a hard-working Recovery Task Group addressed social distancing measures in the town centre. The wider footpaths and traffic restrictions were warmly welcomed as increasing numbers of people returned to use our businesses, shops, pubs, restaurants, and visitor attractions.

"The absence of traffic changed the atmosphere massively with a safer, people-friendly, more vibrant, and non-polluted environment. A place for people where we can relax, amble, congregate and enjoy all that is good about our town."

Councillor Mosley said Shropshire Council had relaxed the original measures but still provided a reasonable compromise with a promise that work would follow to enable a long- term model based on the Big Town Plan vision of pedestrian priority.

"This model would take on board issues raised by residents and businesses on Town Walls where the routing of extra traffic is not ideal. Other issues were also being resolved satisfactorily."

"Footfall on High Street has shown figures slightly higher than for equivalent weeks in 2019 while the national trend has been an average of 20 per cent down. At the same time a survey of 90 of the Shrewsbury BID members provided evidence of strong support for the traffic restrictions and pedestrianisation with only 20 per cent proposing opening to traffic again."

"Now there are no restrictions on traffic accessing the town centre following a unilateral decision by Shropshire Council leaders without any consultation whatsoever with other partners. This is a major set-back for those who wished to see the prosperity of the town continuing to recover and people continuing to return."

He said he believed many other town councillors would be demanding that the banning of traffic be restored for weekends at the very least.

"Principles of democracy and partnership have been set aside and the short and longer term interest of securing a prosperous and exciting Shrewsbury have been overridden, for some reason yet to be fully explained."

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News