Shrewsbury businesses calling for traffic-free streets to be reintroduced
16 Sep 2021
by Cathy Block

Businesses are calling for traffic-free streets to be reintroduced in Shrewsbury at weekends - saying the extra outdoor space had been an “exciting opportunity”.

A trial pedestrianisation system has recently ended in Shrewsbury, but businesses are calling for the pedestrian-friendly town centre to be reinstated in the future.

Becky Rawlings, of Hopefully Made in Milk Street, said removing traffic from the road just off High Street had been a major benefit for the business.

She said: “We would love to help pedestrianise Milk Street, as we have noticed the huge positive impact that it has had having Milk Street closed.

“Allowing us to have outdoor seating has made our coffee shop more visible, as well as improving the overall atmosphere on the street, creating such a positive and inviting environment for both our customers and other businesses on our street.

“Being able to have outdoor seating, even if only at the weekends, will not only benefit our business and the businesses around us, but will create the positive community atmosphere that we know Shrewsbury can be.”

Richard Fowler, of Peaberry Café in Milk Street, said being able to use the road space for outdoor dining had been the one bright spot of the past year.

He added: “Our business, as you may imagine, has been on a Covid roller coaster for the past 18 months, being forced to close and open and close and open and close and open.

“The one positive thing through this period has been the ability to take advantage of the Covid road closure restrictions, which, with the council’s permission, has allowed us to use a section of the road outside the front of our business as an alfresco dining terrace.

“The response from our customers has been nothing more than amazing, they really like the vibe it has created, bringing a very relaxed cosmopolitan feel to the area.

“Photos of a closed Milk Street have been used widely on social media and in the press, showcasing what a relaxed safe place Shrewsbury town centre is.

“Surely the town needs to move with the changing world and embrace a cleaner safer experience for visitors.”

Gwen Burgess, of Darwin’s cafe in Shoplatch, said traffic-free streets had been very popular with customers.

She said: “The opportunity to extend our seating into the road has been an exciting opportunity for us - we’ve invested in attractive furniture, and we’ve also run some special promotions.

“The feedback from customers has been so positive. We would love to see some time-constrained, seasonal pedestrianisation to enable this to carry on, especially at the weekends and on special occasions, such as when the market is open late.

“We would like Shropshire Council to be imaginative, flexible and forward-looking, so we can find a sensible compromise that suits visitors, businesses and residents.”