Traffic ban on Thornbury High Street to enable social distancing for shoppers as lockdown eases
THORNBURY’S High Street will be ‘effectively pedestrianised’ to enable social distancing as shops reopen.
South Gloucestershire Council announced today that the High Street will be closed to through traffic between the junctions with The Close and Castle Court from next Monday, June 8.
The council says the changes will “allow people to shop safely by staying two metres apart” and are being introduced “to help protect our residents against coronavirus and save lives as lockdown restrictions are eased and the local economy continues to recover”.
Through traffic will be diverted via Midland Way, Rock Street, Quaker Lane and on to The Plain.
New bus stops are set to be provided in Rock Street for services such as the T2 linking Thornbury to Bristol, which will need to be diverted from the High Street.
Explaining the move, the council said: “We all need to abide by the guidelines to protect each other and help to control the virus and save lives.
“These measures will enable social distancing when non-essential shops are allowed to reopen on 15 June as some retailers can trade from directly outside their premises and more people can queue outside shops whilst remaining two metres apart.
“We are also preparing for when cafes, pubs and restaurants may be allowed to reopen.”
The council is imposing a temporary road closure to bring in the change, which will be followed by an experimental traffic order, which can run for up to 18 months before being made permanent if the move is deemed to have been a success after consultations.
The council says it will closely monitor how the change works, talking with councillors and business representatives.
It says access for High Street residents, deliveries and waste collection will be allowed, although time restrictions are likely to be brought in later if the scheme becomes permanent.
The council said: “This measure has been agreed with local councillors and discussed with traders in the town on a trial basis to provide support for businesses to reopen with COVID-19 social distancing measures in place.”
Council cabinet member for transport Steve Reade said: “This closure is part of our emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to help stop the spread of the virus and save lives in our local communities as lockdown eases.
“Thornbury High Street is a very popular destination and we hope through this action, supporting the community as we navigate the recovery post-COVID outbreak, the local economy will remain strong and people will be able to sustain their businesses and keep their jobs.
“The change in Thornbury is one of a range of measures we are looking to take across South Gloucestershire to keep people safe, and because of the speed of their introduction they will be subject to regular constructive review.
“We will be announcing additional schemes across South Gloucestershire in due course.”
Earlier this week the council abandoned a scheme to restrict vehicle traffic on the A4174 Station Road in Filton to allow more space for pedestrians. One lane of the main road had been coned off but the move prompted complaints that it would add to congestion.
Funding for the work comes from central Government through the West of England Combined Authority.
The council is inviting people to make suggestions for other changes to the transport system to help social distancing on its website.