Changes are taking place to make Stroud town centre a safe place to shop and visit.
Working with colleagues at Stroud District Council, Gloucestershire County Council and Stroud and District Chamber of Trade the Town Council has reviewed the government guidance and drawn up a plan to help people get around safely.
The main change will be a temporary closure of London Road to reduce the amount of through traffic and provide space for the Farmers’ Market to spread out.
All on-street parking will also be suspended, with exceptions for blue badge holders, deliveries and taxis. This will allow the narrow pavements to be made wider.
The scheme, which comes into effect from 8th July, also supports calls to reallocate road space for significantly increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians.
Councillor Kevin Cranston, Mayor of Stroud, said: “These changes are vitally important to ensure the town centre is safe for everyone. People need to use the car parks as there will be no street parking in the town centre.
“This scheme will make it easier to cycle and walk into town and move around safely once there.”
Tony Davey, Chair of the Chamber, said: “Business owners have invested in ensuring shoppers and visitors can feel safer when in their premises.
“In conjunction with this, it is also important they can feel safer in the journeys to and from the businesses, which is challenging in a town that was not designed for the levels of physical distancing we need to follow. We need space to move, space to queue, and distanced space for our award-winning markets.
“With such measures in space, visitors to our town will feel safer again and we can start to rebuild our economy safely, together.”
Councillor Doina Cornell, Leader of SDC, said: “Our High Streets are the lifeblood of our communi-ties, and we have been supporting thousands of businesses in distributing around £25 million of Government grants, we are delaying the reintroduction of parking charges and launching our Shop Local campaign.
“Alongside that we are working hard with partners to ensure as many people as possible can get the supplies they need and get around town centres, which is why we are supporting this temporary road closure in Stroud town centre.
“To assist in this, we have reopened town centre public toilets – we are paying for extra hygiene measures, and our Environmental Health Officers are continuing to support businesses so they can open and trade safely.”
People who are not in the same household, or not in a social ‘bubble’ with another household, should still wherever possible stay two metres apart.
Cllr Nigel Moor, Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “We’re working hard, alongside our district colleagues, to make it easier and safer to walk and cycle right across the county – with more plans coming soon.
“In Stroud, the town centre and markets are key to help the local economy recover following the pandemic and it’s vital they can be visited in a safe way. These changes will help people to stay apart and stay safe.”
Signage will be in place to remind shoppers of the need for social distancing (2m is still the minimum required, except in some businesses where 1m is allowed if suitable protections are in place, such as public transport, where people are required to wear a face covering).
Further measures being discussed are the provision of additional cycle parking and extending the pedestrianised area.
Bus services that normally use London Road will be rerouted. For more information please visit: www.stagecoachbus.com or https://bustimes.org/operators/cotswold-green for Cotswold Green services.