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Wednesday, 01 July 2020 17:49

High street pavements to be widened in Marlborough in a bid to bring shoppers back to town Featured

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PAVEMENTS on Marlborough High Street are to be widened for a year to encourage shoppers to return to the town and allow social distancing.

Town councillors voted to widen pavements into the free parking bays on both sides of the High Street for up to 12 months, to ensure the safety of returning shoppers.

The new measures will let pubs, restaurants and cafes – which are allowed to re-open from Saturday – have extra space for outdoor tables and chairs. Firms which do not already have a licence for this will be able to get one speedily, costing no more than £100.

Cllr Nicholas Fogg said: “I find it quite encouraging that people up and down the High Street have been positive about pavement widening.

“The more we can create a café atmosphere in the High Street it does help footfall.”

Discussing the effect of the loss of free parking could have on other traders, Cllr Mervyn Hall said that retailers would prefer to keep the parking and asked if it was possible to expand the pavements where the businesses that have requested it, while keeping parking spaces along the rest of the High Street.

It was pointed out by the town clerk that plans can be altered at any time, but that the council needed to get something in place as a pilot scheme.

The town council will use their 1,196 allocated free parking spaces from Wiltshire Council so people can have free parking one day a week – the day of which is yet to be decided.

But this scheme runs out in November and the town council are unsure whether or not it will be continued.

The changes to the High Street will not affect the existing bus stop, taxi ranks or disabled bays, or the paid for parking in the centre of the High Street.

Deputy Mayor, Cllr Andre Wilson, suggested there should also be a parking redemption scheme, similar to that in Devizes and Melksham, where shoppers could reclaim the one-hour parking fee against what they have bought in participating businesses.

Councillors voted to explore Cllr Wilson’s parking charge redemption scheme idea.

Cllr Kirk Wilson pointed out it must be simple and run consistently.

The third proposal to be passed was about applying for extra cash as part of the Re-opening of the High Street Safely Scheme administered by Wiltshire Council.

Cllr Susie Price said: “One of our main traffic roads bypasses the High Street.

“If people can’t see anything to suggest we’ve put any measures in places they may drive straight through without thinking about it.”

There was overwhelming support from councillors to install hand sanitisers along the High Street and to add signs stressing that Marlborough is ‘open for business’.

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Malmesbury Gazette & Herald