Emergency measures to support the reopening of high streets in Somerset are being rolled out across the county.
From Monday 15 June, lockdown restrictions are being relaxed with many non-essential retail businesses allowed to reopen.
The Government advises the public to avoid using public transport where possible and instead opt for walking and cycling instead. To support this, the five Local Authorities in Somerset have been working with the police and other partners to identify a list of priority areas which can be quickly funded through the £120,000 Active Travel fund*.
These are temporary measures which will help free up space in high streets and which will be adapted and changed to ensure they are effective.
The public are encouraged to stay safe by continuing to adhere to social distancing by keeping 2m apart and by wearing a face covering in shops and other enclosed public spaces. From Monday, you must also wear a face covering on public transport.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, and/or high temperature, and/or loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste – anosmia), you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19.
The five councils are working closely with town councils, traders and voluntary groups like Carnival clubs who are supporting the Active Travel programme.
Some of the key measures which will be prioritised for delivery over the next fortnight starting on Monday include:
|Somerset West & Taunton||Taunton||Pedestrianisation of East Street|
|Somerset West & Taunton||Minehead||Removal of some parking bays on The Avenue and The Parade to enable widening of footways|
|Sedgemoor||Bridgwater||Eastover / East Quay / Salmon Parade
One-way traffic movement to provide widened footpaths and facilitate safer cycling
|Sedgemoor||Bridgwater||Pedestrianisation of Cornhill to High Street|
|Sedgemoor||Burnham on Sea||Pedestrianisation of High Street|
|South Somerset||Yeovil||Pedestrianisation of High Street and Middle Street
|South Somerset||Chard||Pedestrianisation of Holyrood Street except for delivery vehicles
|Mendip||Frome||Frome Town Council is to provide access only to the Market Place from 22 June to enable Market Place improvement works with car parks remaining open|
|Mendip||Street||Temporarily pedestrianise (with delivery vehicle access only) High Street from Leigh Road to Vestry Road (where market normally takes place).|
|Mendip||Wells||No changes to highways requested – to be reviewed next week|
|Mendip||Glastonbury||Temporarily pedestrianise (with delivery and bus access only) High Street, Magdalene Street and Benedict Street
|Mendip||Shepton Mallet||Shepton Mallet Town Council considering the temporary pedestrianisation (with delivery access only) of High Street from Market Cross (where the market usually takes place) to Park Road Roundabout from 18 June.|
|Mendip||Wells to Glastonbury lane||Temporary closure (with residential / farm access only) of Long Drove following existing cycle route to facilitate safer cycling between the towns and support social distancing on public transport (Glastonbury – Wells bus service).|
Drivers are reminded of the need to remain alert for more cyclists and pedestrians in all areas but particularly near shops as the lockdown continues to ease.
Active Travel fund
* The Department for Transport has now confirmed details of the first £45m from its £250m emergency active travel fund.
Somerset has been allocated £120,000 in emergency funding for temporary measures to encourage walking and cycling.
The second tranche of funding will be released later in the summer to enable further, more permanent measures to cement cycling and walking habits, including schemes already planned in Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs). An indicative figure of £482,000 for Somerset has been published from the second tranche.
Note – this emergency active travel funding is separate to the “Reopening High Streets Safely Fund” which was also announced recently. This is providing monies from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to district councils across England to support the safe reopening of high streets and other commercial areas.
All authorities are working together closely to ensure a joined-up response and make the most of the available opportunities.
The allocations for Somerset:
- Sedgemoor £109,807
- Somerset West and Taunton £138,806
- South Somerset £149,354
- Mendip £102,863