There is strong support for reducing the number of vehicles driving through the centre of Shrewsbury, according to a recent survey which had more than 1,400 responses.
The Shrewsbury Recovery Taskforce group, made up of representatives from Shropshire Council, Shrewsbury Town Council, and Shrewsbury BID, has completed a review of the temporary traffic measures implemented since the Covid-19 outbreak – and makes a series of recommendations for longer term measures.
Detailed discussions have been taking place with businesses and residents, along with a survey which received more than 1,400 responses, about how people access and move around Shrewsbury town centre.
Since June through-traffic has been restricted from travelling up Wyle Cop and along High Street in recent months, to allow more space for social distancing.
Those vehicle restrictions have been lifted during the current lockdown, but are planned to be reinstated 11am-4pm when businesses are allowed to reopen.
The Shrewsbury Recovery Taskforce has undertaken significant research to investigate longer-term ways of reducing traffic without causing adverse impact to the Town Walls area, which has been the diversion route for traffic coming into town over English Bridge.
Weekly footfall figures independently recorded by Springboard since mid-June show footfall to have been up to 15 per cent higher than similar towns across the UK.
Councillor Peter Nutting, leader of Shropshire Council, said: “The last few months have enabled us to gather vital information and feedback about how closing High Street and Wyle Cop to incoming vehicles has impacted on the town centre.
“The work undertaken by Shrewsbury Recovery Taskforce has involved conversations with residents and businesses, and Shropshire Council as Highways Authority will continue to work closely with partners to consider next steps.
“Making Shrewsbury easier to access and more enjoyable to move around is one of the biggest opportunities as we continue our recovery.”
Councillor Alan Mosley, leader of Shrewsbury Town Council, said: “To get nearly 1,500 responses to the survey in such a short period of time was great, and there was a very clear consensus – some 79 per cent – who were either supportive or very supportive of measures to greatly reduce traffic in our town centre.
“So it seems clear that we must give pedestrians priority in the town centre by removing all but essential traffic, to the benefit of Shrewsbury residents, visitors and businesses alike. Any plans will provide easy access for those with a disability, delivery access and will greatly encourage active travel.
“There is an expectation that improvements to public transport will complement these aspirations.”
Kevin Lockwood, vice-chair of Shrewsbury BID said: “The movement survey showed a clear majority of businesses support measures to reduce through traffic and create a more pedestrian friendly town centre.
“The evidence from government and our industry partners is that the vitality of town centres is increasingly linked to the quality of the experience. We need to do all we can to make the town centre appealing for locals and visitors to come and spend their time and money in Shrewsbury.”
Councillor Nat Green, Shropshire Council member for Quarry and Coton Hill, said: “Residents of the town centre will welcome this support for removing through traffic, but it needs to be taken further and form the basis of a long-term plan that will take vehicles off our historic streets.”