Landlord critical of town centre road closures as council changes policy

Palmers Butchers.

Palmers Butchers. - Credit: Archant

A Weston landlord has expressed ‘serious concerns’ over road closures which have affected the town centre during lockdown.

North Somerset Council pedestrianaised the top end of Meadow Street through to Alexandra Parade in July to help support social distancing and allow businesses to trade outdoors.

Regent Street, York Street, Princess Royal Square, part of St James’ Street and part of the High Street were also closed to create a traffic-free zone.

The Mercury reported on August 27 how independent traders lamented the council’s road closure policy, with one warning it could be forced to close down as delivery drivers were made to park elsewhere or face fines and parking tickets.

The road closures have also affected tenants and landlords in the town centre.

MORE: Town centre businesses struggling due to new social distancing measures.

Landlord Chris Jeffries told the Mercury: “I have serious concerns over these road closures, I have six properties with access from within the blocked area, how does an ambulance or fire engine get to the flats within this area?

“As the council has blocked access, will their insurance be covering properties as they have created barriers?

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“I also call on those responsible to provide evidence of who they have consulted because not one of my tenants were.

“This is an accident waiting to happen, councils all over the country are now removing these road closures.”

The council said it spoke to businesses and used the feedback to make changes.

Its spokesman said: “Following recent discussions with businesses in Weston town centre, the council has changed measures to better accommodate local traders to allow easier loading for their businesses.

“Regent Street has been pedestrianised during the daytime and parking bays in Meadow Street removed, introducing outdoor seating and safer shopping for locals. It now allows effective social distancing and encourages cycling and pedestrians, giving us the chance to trial different opportunities for public space without making permanent changes.

“Businesses have highlighted some difficulties in their suppliers delivering during the restricted delivery times so these have now been extended by one hour to 11am. Also, at the request of businesses, much of the pay-and-display parking has been reinstated.

“Restricted delivery times have long been common in towns across the country to create a more attractive and safer shopping environment for customers.

“The council will continue to listen to both businesses and shoppers and review provisions on a regular basis to find the right balance of all party’s needs.”