Shrewsbury town centre streets will remain closed to vehicles on weekends through the spring and summer - allowing pavement dining to flourish once again!
Shropshire Council has announced this week that the trial 'low-traffic scheme', started in November 2021, is to continue until at least October 2022, after proving popular with businesses and residents. Local businesses are also being encouraged to apply for pavement licences for this spring and summer, which should see a return of the flourishing outdoor dining and café culture we enjoyed last summer.
Streets affected include: Wyle Cop (uphill), High Street and Shoplatch, which are closed to through-traffic from 10am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, and The Square, which is closed to traffic every day from 10am to 4pm.
The closures will be extended to 5pm during the summer months.
Shropshire Council says the decision to continue is based on positive responses to a survey on the ShrewsburyMoves.com website – with 397 responses and 899 contributions made – and a 'strong majority' supporting the measures. The website also includes a map and a Q&A section.
The five additional disabled parking bays introduced 24/7 as part of the trial – three in Princess Street and two in Claremont Street – were found to have been well used and will remain. At the same time work and consultation will be undertaken to finalise new temporary crossings that will be introduced on Town Walls to reduce, slow and discourage through traffic.
Meanwhile, businesses that wish to apply for a pavement licence to increase their business footprint and take advantage of the extension to the weekend road closures, should visit Shropshire Council’s website for advice and guidance.
Richard Marshall Shropshire Council’s deputy Cabinet member for highways, said: "The weekend closure has been well received by all with shoppers, visitors and businesses telling us how welcome it is. We’ve also seen for ourselves what a positive difference it makes to the town centre at weekends and I’m very pleased that we can extend it throughout the summer and beyond.
“On a similar note, the pavement licence scheme introduced in summer 2020 has been embraced by local businesses and café culture has flourished in Shrewsbury. Any business that wishes to apply for a licence for this spring and summer can do so now.
“Shrewsbury really is doing well as we emerge from the pandemic, and we hope this extended weekend closure will continue to encourage people to visit, support and enjoy the town in the months ahead.”
James Handley, who represents Shrewsbury BID on the Big Town Plan Partnership, said: “After extensive consultation with businesses, we very much welcome the continuation of making the town centre more pedestrian-friendly at weekends.
“Removing through traffic from the centre of town is a clear priority of the Big Town Plan, and this trial will be carefully considered as part of the wider movement strategy which is being undertaken over the coming months.”
Councillor Alan Mosley, who represents Shrewsbury Town Council on the Big Town Plan Partnership, said:
“There has been overwhelming support for this arrangement at weekends, and reducing traffic has clear benefits for the town centre environment. We fully support the aim of improving the Shrewsbury town centre experience for pedestrians both now and into the future.”
Over the spring and summer a new Shrewsbury Movement and Public Realm Strategy is being developed, and this weekend closure will be an important consideration as part of this work.