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New provision for pedestrians in Bishop's Stortford town centre this weekend

Bishop's Stortford is one of four town centres in Hertfordshire where the county council is introducing social distancing measures this Whitsun bank holiday weekend.

The authority will give detail of the changes "over the next day or so", but pedestrianisation of South Street and an uphill one-way system for traffic in Newtown Road will be introduced to ensure pedestrians can stay two metres apart.

County Hall has been working with police, the town and district councils and the Bishop's Stortford BID (Business Improvement District) body to come up with a strategy as part of the Covid-19 recovery effort.

Parking bays cordoned off in South Street (35083982)
Parking bays cordoned off in South Street (35083982)

Led by Hertfordshire's public health team, the changes to the town centre are designed to boost safety and support residents, businesses and pedestrians as the Government allows high streets to reopen in phases from June 1.

Bishop's Stortford, Hertford, Watford and Borehamwood are the first communities where measures such as closing roads to traffic, removing parking and narrowing highways will be implemented to help pedestrians.

Up to a dozen further town centres will follow from early next week, subject to an adequate supply of barriers and signage.

Newtown Road set up for one-way traffic (35083973)
Newtown Road set up for one-way traffic (35083973)

Cllr Phil Bibby, HCC's cabinet member for highways and environment, said: "This is a rapidly moving project and we are now in a position to start rolling out some of the measures ahead of the Government's timeline.

"We're playing our part during this time and hope residents will continue to demonstrate kindness to each other by keeping the two metres distancing.

"I understand and recognise that those living in town centres may experience some disruption as the traffic management changes. But I hope they will appreciate feeling that their streets are made safer for pedestrians and residents alike as a result of the changes."

Jim McManus, director of public health at Hertfordshire County Council, said: "We have been advising our highways colleagues to ensure that they have the right measures in place to allow people to safely go about their business in town centres and enable them to socially distance as they do so."

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