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End of a bizarre experiment

July 25, 2020 12:58 PM
By Cllr Vilnis Vesma
Parking barriers

The unwanted barriers ready for removal

Newent's bizarre experiment with reducing on-street parking as a way of boosting post-lockdown trade has come to an end, largely thanks to the efforts of our Independent fellow-councillor Julia Gooch. The idea had actually been to widen the footway to allow pedestrians space because some people think that even passing someone in the open air is risky. In fact footfall in the town is relatively light, and the shopkeepers were not consulted about what would help them: impeding short-term parking was not on their list.

The decision to ask for barriers was made by the Town Council after the District Council secured some funds for reopening High Streets safely, and I understand that similar choices were made in other towns. I argued back at the time (2 June) that the money would be better spent on canopies to protect people from the elements while queuing in the open air. The Town Council discussed what to ask for while the weather was dry and sunny but this situation is going to be with us through the winter.

Queue for post office

Give us shelter

Meanwhile, one of the queuing pinch points, the Post Office (bottom picture) did not get the wider-footway treatment in the first place, and it lacks the shop awnings that other parts of the town benefit from so this is a definite candidate for temporary cover.