High Street pedestrianisation divides opinion

September 01 2020
High Street pedestrianisation divides opinion

Thornbury & Yate MP Luke Hall writes for the Voice

DURING the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, South Gloucestershire Council took the decision to pedestrianise Thornbury High Street; prompting strongly held views about the changes.

Some residents, businesses and community groups have explained they are in favour of the measures, pointing out that they feel more confident returning to shops and restaurants on the High Street. Conversely, others have raised concerns over the ease of access for disabled residents, increased anti-social behaviour and the levels of footfall on the High Street.

The Council have now launched a full consultation, asking for views on the future of the High Street.

This is scheduled to close on the 31st January and the full details of how to respond to the consultation can be found on their website.

This is the official route to have your say; whether you would prefer a one-way system, a permanent pedestrianised zone, or to return the High Street to its previous form.

So please use this consultation to make sure your voice is heard.

Having spoken to businesses, the Chamber of Commerce and hundreds of residents, I have written to the Leader of South Gloucestershire Council to ask for the following considerations during this period: Firstly, for a review of the blue badge and disabled parking spaces within the proximity of the High Street. Some residents have expressed concern that the current disabled parking spaces are not accessible for disabled residents and blue badge users.

Secondly, I have asked for the Council to take further action, alongside Avon and Somerset Police, to tackle anti-social behaviour on the High Street, ensuring that it remains safe and welcoming to all members of our community.

Third, I have asked for the reopening of Soapers Lane, adjacent to Thornbury Town Hall, providing pedestrians access between St Mary Street and Thornbury High Street, keeping this lane open during the day for residents’ ease of access, particularly elderly and disabled shoppers.

Finally, I have asked for the Council to make hard copies of the consultation available, to ensure those who are unable to access information online are still able to have their voice heard. Supporting local businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is an absolute priority for the Council and the Government, and I fully appreciate that local shops, restaurants and businesses in Thornbury have varying circumstances and different feelings about these proposals.

If you would like further detail on how to respond to the consultation, or if there is anything else I can help with as the local MP, please do not hesitate to get in touch at luke.hall.mp@parliament.uk.