Widening city centre pavements ahead of shops reopening
— 11 Jun 2020 14:23:20 by David Renaut
Brighton & Hove City Council have used emergency government funding to make it easier for people to socially distance as the city reopens.
Work has already begun on widening the pavements in the Old Town and St. James’s Street, with Western Road, The Clock Tower and North Laine to follow suit. The latest council measures include reducing parking, creating new temporary cycle lanes and installing CCTV to help enforcement.
“As we’re based in the city centre, I’ve noticed a number of the pavement widening projects as I’ve visited sites that we manage, following the reopening of our Old Steyne office on Monday,” said David Renaut, Head of Property Management. “The mobilisation involved is impressive but I suspect the results will meet with mixed reviews. Many retail tenants who are advanced with their plans to reopen next Monday may be pleased that potential customers could be encouraged to come into town by the increased pedestrian space. They may not be so keen on the possible impact on servicing their units, as delivery vehicles will have fewer locations where they can stop without blocking the road. This conflict was a major obstacle to the council’s plans to pedestrianise parts of the Old Town a few years ago.
I’ve previously mentioned the importance of the restaurant sector to the vibrancy of this part of the city. One obstacle to them resuming trade is that very few have external areas that would allow them to provide an open-air service, which seems at present to be the first type of operation that might be permitted. We read in the press that councils are being urged to facilitate pavement seating areas; it wouldn’t have been possible in these locations before the pavement widening but will the work now encourage applications? I don’t envy whoever has to decide if businesses or passers-by should have the best claim to the new space.”
According to Brighton & Hove News, the city has been given £594,000 for the current work under the first tranche of the Government’s £250 million emergency travel fund. If the council uses the money in the way the Government is asking – to “meaningfully alter the status quo on the road” – it has apparently been promised another £2.367 million to make more permanent changes later on.
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