Burnham-On-Sea High Street could become temporarily pedestrianised as part of proposals to re-open the town centre during June and ensure that shoppers are able to safely socially distance.
The Town Council’s Town Improvements Committee met last week to consider concerns raised by Cllr Gardiner White about the relaxation of movement restrictions and the impact on pedestrian safety in Burnham and Highbridge and other open spaces.
A temporary pedestrianisation of the High Street to enable people to walk safely along the road in order to meet social distancing guidelines at busy times and safely queue outside shops is being considered.
New safety advice signs and posters are being planned, plus new sanitation stations, other road changes in the town centre, plus street wardens to help shoppers.
It comes after Boris Johnson announced earlier this week that non-essential shops will be able to re-open from June 15th, as reported here.
The council says: “During recent weeks, the Council has been in contact with the Police, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset County Council Highways, and the local MP about the growing number of people using town centres and open spaces.”
“Police patrols have been increased and local Police are speaking with people on the street about how they can reduce risk when out and about.”
“The Town Council accepts that the Police have faced a real challenge in recent weeks when addressing any breaches of Government guidance and social distancing, particularly as people have adjusted to the Government’s increasing number of reasonable excuses to be out.”
“The Government has announced a £50m grant fund for local Councils to help high streets and public spaces reopen safely. Although the Town Council is not the authority with responsibility for highways or large public open spaces, and the parish sector will not receive any of this Government funding in any case, the Town Improvements Committee agreed it is still able to take a pro-active role to drive the grass roots changes needed to make our towns safer and allow safe movement of people navigating our high street and open space facilities.”
The committee held a working group meeting on Wednesday evening (May 27th) with key groups, including county and district councils, Burnham and Highbridge Chambers of Trade, residents and busineses, along with their representative bodies, to identify the important safety processes required to be put in place to help protect our residents and visitors.
If you represent a business, local holiday park or community group affected by the re-opening of the high street and open spaces and you want to get involved then email your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you live on or near the high streets and open spaces and you want to comment, then please contact your ward councillor so that they can represent your position.
All councillor contact details are available on request from the Town Council by calling 01278 788088 or via the council website.