CHANGES are being made to the roads around Leamington town centre.
It comes as businesses begin to reopen as part of the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
The alterations will provide space for social distancing and customers queuing outside shops while deliveries are being made and disabled parking is kept in place.
The scheme includes closing The Parade between Clarendon Avenue and Regent Grove, Warwick Street between Tavistock Street and Guy Street, and Regent Street between Bedford Street and Park Street.
It also involves the temporary suspension of some on-street parking, reducing Bath Street to a single lane of traffic and the creation of a ‘pop-up’ cycle route between Regent Grove and Hamilton Terrace.
Traffic management equipment such as cones and barriers will be used to segregate people from traffic.
Organisers Warwickshire County Council, Warwick District Council and Leamington Town Council are planning to work with local art groups to improve the appearance of barriers and maintain the look and feel of the town.
And as hospitality businesses reopen the additional outside space should allow more room for outdoor tables.
The move has been welcomed by Leamington’s five county councillors from Lib Dem, Labour and Green parties.
In a joint statement the councillors said: “The implications of Covid 19 are not going to go away quickly. Therefore it’s vital twe find ways to give people space to move around our town centre safely. These proposals aim to do that. They are temporary, but also flexible.
“When they go ahead, we would encourage residents to contact us and the council to tell us how they work on the ground. Please tell us what you do and you don’t like. If parts of them don’t work as intended we have been assured that they can be changed with relative ease.
“So often road projects can be top down and difficult to change once put in place. This is a chance for us as residents and businesses to influence what happens in the town centre, so that we can respect each other, feel safe and help our local shops to recover after the long closure.”
Warwickshire County Council spokesman for transport and planning, coun Jeff Clarke said the changes are easily adaptable.
He told the Observer: “We have been working with our key partners to bring forward these plans to temporarily change road layouts as part of our response to the public health crises created by Covid 19 and to reinvigorate our town centres and support the economic recovery. We have had to act swiftly which has prevented widespread community engagement, but we will be monitoring the scheme carefully and will adapt them as necessary to ensure they remain suitable and appropriate to local needs and conditions.
“The plans will help businesses operate, give the public confidence that they can safely return to use and enjoy the town centres and give our businesses and communities a much-needed boost.”