22 May TOWN COUNCIL BACK PEDESTRIANISATION OF NEWBURY TOWN CENTRE
Newbury Town Council has backed plans to pedestrianise areas of Newbury Town Centre in order to support the re-opening of businesses in the town centre. The plans, being drafted by the District Council, are expected to become effective from 1 June and to run until the end of August. The motion was proposed by the Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Olivia Lewis and unanimously supported by all of the Council.
Proposing the motion, Cllr Lewis said, “These measures will help to facilitate social distancing and enhance the Town Centre at this very difficult time. Social distancing measures are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future and therefore, as businesses begin to reopen, more pavement space will be required to enable pedestrians to maintain social distance. Our local businesses are going to need help to ensure they can safely operate whilst maintaining social distancing.
She continued, “We now have a chance to trial new ways of travelling and using the space within Newbury Town whilst traffic is much less busy, both to ensure the ongoing feasibility of maintaining social distancing whilst out of the house and helping local residents to reduce their carbon footprint whilst maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Many of the steps necessary to take these ideas forward are beyond the powers of Newbury Town Council so we are happy to support West Berkshire Council’s plan to pedestrianise areas within the town centre until September.
This would allow for the main body of the Market Place to be used both to assist social distancing at the weekly and monthly markets, but also to offer local pubs, cafes and restaurants space for outdoor seating as they begin to reopen on a take-away basis requiring social distancing. Temporary covers could be erected if useful to protect visitors from the elements. In addition, this plan would allow more space for cyclists and pedestrians to safely make short journeys without using the car.”
She added, “The Town Council Strategy calls for the permanent pedestrianisation of the Market Place apart from Mansion House Street and Wharf Street, and we urge WBC to implement this at the end of the trial period.”
The Town Council called on the District Council to take the following urgent steps:
- To robustly evaluate the impact of this pedestrianisation on local business, residents and vulnerable groups, and consult on whether and how to extend pedestrianisation after the end of this trial.
- To ensure social distancing for cyclists and pedestrians, especially in Newbury, as the District’s main employment, retail and commercial centre.
- To trial prioritising these groups on certain roads, by, for example, ensuring they are prioritised for pedestrians (and cyclists) and introducing temporary traffic calming/access measures on residential streets.
- To produce and share an action plan detailing how safe travel to schools will be facilitated if the government decides to close streets around schools during drop-off and pick-up times and
- To provide additional secure cycle parking in the town centre, for example in the Kennet Centre car park
Cllr Martin Colston, Leader of the Council Martin.Colston@newbury.gov.uk 01635 36591
Hugh Peacocke, CEO, Newbury Town Council Hugh.Peacocke@newbury.gov.uk 01635 35486