Yay or nay? Shrewsbury shoppers say Shrewsbury High Street should stay traffic-free

Shrewsbury residents have had their say on whether the town's High Street should be pedestrianised for good.

Robert and Jane Blair, Shrewsbury residents who live near the Ellesmere Road outside of town, said the idea would suit Shrewsbury
Robert and Jane Blair, Shrewsbury residents who live near the Ellesmere Road outside of town, said the idea would suit Shrewsbury

The road between Shrewsbury's High Street and Shoplatch has been closed during lockdown to maximise social distancing.

The council announced recently that the closure, which is in place every day from 11am to 4pm, would be extended past the June 21 original deadline, due to the Government's delay on 'freedom day'.

Gwen Burgess, owner of Darwin's Sandwich Evolution in Shoplatch, has launched a petition to have the traffic measures introduced permanently during the summer months.

However residents in Town Walls have complained about the increase in traffic the closure brings to their road, raising concerns about the danger to pedestrians and damage being caused to the historic walls.

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.

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Shoppers out and about over the weekend were largely in favour of having the road closed to traffic during the summer months, as many hoped it would re-invigorate the High Street and make the town more shopper-friendly.

Robert and Jane Blair, Shrewsbury residents who live on the Ellesmere Road side of town, said the idea would help bring int rade.

Robert said: "The fact is, it would probably help to regenerate the town centre and the shops a bit. Surely it would protect the old buildings here in town as well.

Shrewsbury High Street

"I think it would help massively, especially help with cafes and eateries and places. The big draw for Shrewsbury for a lot of people is that old-timey feel and the history of the town and the buildings.

"If there is no traffic it would help boost that appeal. That's what people come here for, to wander around the streets."

Janice added: "Pedestrianising Shrewsbury would make it more of that ideal little town, give it more of a market town feel. It would be nice for the summer."

Joy Meakin, from Shrewsbury, said it would be a nice idea for the town and Joe Colman, also from Shrewsbury, said it would be a huge benefit for the High Street traders.

Glyn and Bez Evans in Shrewsbury High Street

Miles Moss, who is originally from London and now lives in Shrewsbury, said it is "impractical" to have traffic coming into town.

"It's a great idea," he said. "What makes me laugh is I come from London originally, and obviously to get across it, you use the Tube system. Here in Shrewsbury, you could walk across it from one end to the other in five minutes.

"There isn't really a need for cars, and then you wouldn't have to worry about parking and everything. It's impractical for cars to come into town."

Glyn Evans, who has lived in Shrewsbury all his life, and his wife Bez, said making the changes permanent would be a good idea.

Glyn said: "However if they are thinking of stopping traffic from coming through the town, I think they need the North West Relief Road. The traffic is terrible where we live."

Bez added: "It's definitely nicer here in town when the High Street has been closed. I worked at the Next shop for years until it moved to the business park, the shops really need a boost. So keeping traffic away would hopefully be nicer for visitors."

Chris Moore-Bridger in Shrewsbury High Street

Chris Moore-Bridger, who lives in Meole Brace, walks to town every Sunday when the bus isn't on, and said it is nicer to not have as much traffic about.

"I would be in favour of pedestrianising the road, it's nicer for people like me who are walking in," he said. "Obviously people still need to travel in but we have the park and ride, and many more people now are running and cycling."

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