As lockdown restrictions are eased and non-essential retail shops are allowed to start trading again on the 15th June, attention has been turned on how to maintain a vibrant and safe town centre in Bude. I don’t know of any other town which has done this, but there must be some out there.
The original plan, I understand, was to pedestrianise the area of Queen Street with traffic flow around the outer ring of the town centre, which a number of shop keepers and traders objected to. I guess the problem there is footfall and location. If Queen Street was permanently pedestrianised, made to look attractive and a go-to ‘cafe society’ place for the future, this would attract visitors, but just not allowing cars up it means many visitors would miss it altogether, so I can understand their concerns at this very difficult time. So, the alternative is a one-way system for pedestrians.
Bude is anticipating a large number of visitors once the holiday lettings are able to re-commence (currently looking liked 4th July). How many will actually open will maybe depend on the guidelines introduced for cleaning, etc. Currently, they look like they will be extremely stringent and perhaps impossible for many places to adhere to. I have heard of some holiday lets which have decided to write off 2020 if they are luckily in a position to do so.
Anyway, Mayor Bob says:
After a landmark on-line meeting between the Town Council Emergency Action Team and a number of Bude town centre independent traders, the following staged plan has been devised:
A pedestrian flow zone will be created within the town centre, marked by sign posts at the entrance points and regular pavement markings throughout. It will create a one way flow on the town’s pavements to avoid head-on meeting of pedestrians and allow better social distancing. This zone will start at the Bencoolen roundabout on the Strand and run throughout Lansdown Road, Queen Street, Princes Street, Belle Vue, Morwenna Terrace to Sainsbury’s, Belle Vue Lane and the lower parts of Granville Terrace and Summerleaze car park access road.
The pedestrian flow zone will also be marked as a traffic calmed area with a 10 mph speed limit requested and potentially extra speed humps installed. Two parking spaces at the bottom of Queen Street and three at the top of Belle Vue will be temporally fenced to provide a wider pedestrian area.
It is believed that these measures will create enough space for people to socially distance whilst making their way around town and queue outside shops where necessary.
Shops are taking responsibility for managing their queues, keeping them tight to the shop fronts and ensuring there are no overlaps. The town centre traders are working hard to put the measures required by the Government within their shops, to create safe environments for their customers.
Cornwall Council has been asked to provide the measures to establish a temporary pedestrian zone through Princes Street and Queen Street but these will not be in place during the initial reopening of the town centre as to support the town’s traffic flow, car parking and help mobility-restricted shoppers gain access. The situation will be closely monitored and should the traders report pedestrian congestion problems that prevent adequate social distancing, the introduction of the temporary pedestrian zone can be enacted.
After a period of inactivity and loss of income, the town centre traders need the support of the community now more than ever and we will continue to work with them and Cornwall Council to provide a welcoming and safe shopping experience.
It seems that you walk up the road one way and down it on the other side, no zig-zagging across the road.
It’s easy for me, as I always tend to avoid the town centre when it is busy in summer. Not sure how it will be regulated, as the supermarkets which have adopted one-way systems tend to be chaotic.
My personal feeling is that if shopping, etc., is made too difficult, then it is easier not to do it. Indeed, one thing we have all learned from lockdown is how little ‘stuff’ we need, but let’s see how it works.
To be fair, the Council will be damned if they do nothing and damned if they do something.