The trial low-traffic scheme which has seen parts of Shrewsbury town centre closed to vehicles on weekends is to continue until at least October 2022 after proving popular with businesses and residents.
Since 20 November 2021, Wyle Cop (uphill), High Street and Shoplatch in the town have been closed to through-traffic from 10am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays to help reduce traffic in the town centre at weekends. In addition The Square is closed to traffic every day from 10am to 4pm.
Since the start of the trial 397 people have responded to a survey on the ShrewsburyMoves.com website – with 899 contributions made – with a strong majority supporting the measures. As a result, the trial will now continue, with the roads closed until 5pm during the summer months.
The five additional disabled parking bays introduced 24/7 as part of the trial – three in Princess Street and two in Claremont Street – 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.
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.