Shaftesbury Town councillors want to retain the High Street pedestrianisation and Thursday street market during lockdown.
There wasn’t a formal vote last night. Councillors expressed their opinion to inform Dorset Council, who make the final decision today.
Town councillors also supported proposals to hire an additional part-time High Street closure marshal. Each day, up to twenty motorists are ignoring the road closure signs and illegally driving along the main street between 9am and 4pm. It’s hoped that an additional person will help to prevent this.
Cllr Piers Brown explained that eight ‘essential’ town centre businesses were likely to remain open during lockdown and the road closure was needed for social distancing. It’s thought that a marshal presence would make a difference on Sundays, where there is currently no staff cover. It’s the day when the greatest number of drivers violate the traffic ban.
Piers told councillors that twenty traders are likely to open in December.
Councillors learned that 58 out of 70 businesses have reported that trade has exceeded expectations during the pedestrianisation period. But Cllr Karen Tippins said she wants the pedestrianisation stopped.
She was the only member opposing the daytime road closure in the meeting. Cllr Peter Yeo has previously objected to the traffic ban, but he was voted out of the Zoom meeting once again, when he refused to stop interruptions and directed accusations at council staff.
Cllr Tippins said that the road closure discriminated against blue badge holders and wanted it reversed, particularly as we are entering lockdown. Cllr Brown explained that equality legislation was being adhered to with the provision of disabled parking spaces.
We will let you know whether the town councillors’ wish to retain the pedestrianisation and market through the lockdown is reflected in today’s meeting decision.