Parking bays suspended in social distancing measures
On-street parking will be suspended on some roads in Congleton town centre from Monday as Cheshire East Council introduces a range of measures to protect people and support local businesses during a further easing of the lockdown.
Signs alerting pedestrians to stay 2m apart to maintain social distancing will also be erected, while the pedestrian area and Little Street will be closed to traffic.
A directional one-way route for pedestrians on both sides of Mill Street will also be introduced.
The measures will be under constant review, once implemented, and may be further tailored to meet local circumstances.
West Street and Mill Street, recommended for closure by Coun Suzie Akers Smith to divert traffic away from the town centre, as reported in the Chronicle last week, will not take place at this time.
The Congleton councillor, Cheshire East's walking and cycling champion, has since clarified that her recommendation was to block off the two roads to through-traffic.
In Congleton from Monday, parking bays will be suspended on Swan Bank and along a section of High Street and Lawton Street to make it easier for pedestrians to practise social distancing.
Signs alerting pedestrians to keep 2m apart will be at the junction of Bridge Street and Swan Bank, at the top of Little Street, on the corner of Mountbatten Way and Market Street, at the top of Bridge Street and Market Street, on Lawton Street near its junction with Bank Street, and at the junction of Lawton Street and Park Lane.
Cheshire East Council said ward councillors and town councillors had been given a chance to give their input on the plans.
Sixteen towns including Congleton and larger villages across Cheshire East will see temporary measures installed in and around high streets.
Measures elsewhere will include:
• Social distancing awareness signs at bus and rail stations and at bus stops
• Localised temporary road closures in town centres, where there is expected to be high footfall and extra space is needed for pedestrians and socially-distanced queuing at shops
• Increased pedestrian or cycle access in some town centres, through adjustments to traffic restrictions, and
• Temporary closure of a small number of town centre car parks, where access to these compromises the space available for social distancing.
Cheshire East said that while it could not guarantee that the public adhered to guidance on social distancing, it was keen to help residents and business communities come out of lockdown safely, ensuring that public health was protected.
Coun Laura Crane, Cheshire East Cabinet member for highways, said: “As we begin to move beyond lockdown, we must consider how best to open up our high streets. Our priority here is to protect people and our local businesses.
“Alongside any measures, we will be supporting businesses with additional information and guidance, while encouraging high street users to adhere to the Government's social distancing restrictions.
“The Government is providing funding to local authorities and has issued guidance on how we can help people maintain safe social distancing in busy public areas, which we are following.”
She added: “Some of our measures support walking and cycling in our town centres - which many people have enjoyed much more of during the lockdown - and this also is good for our environment and people's health and wellbeing.
“Further temporary and experimental measures are being considered to support walking and cycling and will be implemented once we have put in the arrangements for our high streets.”
Coun Crane concluded: “I can't stress how important it is to maintain social distancing as we get back to normal. Any suggestions people have about helping with social distancing, I beg them to get in touch with their local councillor. The more feedback we have the better.”