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Council campaign could see streets close to allow social distancing for shoppers

PUBLISHED: 11:07 04 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:27 04 June 2020

Leader of Breckland Council, Sam Chapman-Allen. Picture: Breckland District Council

Leader of Breckland Council, Sam Chapman-Allen. Picture: Breckland District Council

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Pavements will be widened and some streets could close as councils launch a campaign to help shoppers feel safer returning to the high street after the coronavirus pandemic.

Red fencing all around Attleborough town centre as parking bays are suspended for social distancing nine weeks into lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYRed fencing all around Attleborough town centre as parking bays are suspended for social distancing nine weeks into lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Breckland Council, South Norfolk Council and Broadland District Council are working to launch the ‘Confidence’ campaign, which aims to give people confidence to safely shop in their towns and villages.

The councils are working with county and town councils to widen pavements, introduce barriers to facilitate social distancing and, if needed, close streets to ensure a clean, safe and secure shopping experience.

Other measures such as providing hand sanitiser, making council officers free to support shoppers and businesses, installing banners, window stickers and floor markings to help pedestrians navigate the high street while social distancing.

Leader of South Norfolk Council, John Fuller, said: “This recovery will require a whole council response.

Red fencing all around Attleborough town centre as parking bays are suspended for social distancing nine weeks into lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYRed fencing all around Attleborough town centre as parking bays are suspended for social distancing nine weeks into lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“We will help provide a clean, safe and secure shopping experience and give our residents the confidence to get back onto the high streets and get the cash registers in our local businesses ringing again.

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“Shopping may take longer so we will extend the free time in our car parks and together, we will beat the crisis and reboot our local economies, one business and one job at a time.”

Parking bays in Attleborough have already been closed off to widen the path as part of the campaign.

Shopkeeper Haci Aktas of Quickstop is losing customers due to parking bays outside his shop in Attleborough town centre being suspended for social distancing nine weeks into lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYShopkeeper Haci Aktas of Quickstop is losing customers due to parking bays outside his shop in Attleborough town centre being suspended for social distancing nine weeks into lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Haci Aktas, 47, has run the Quickstop in the town for more than 10 years. He said closing the parking bays is causing problems for shoppers with disabilities.

“I’ve seen a drop in 50pc since the bays were closed, nobody can stop and come in,” he said.

“We have already suffered from the roadworks and this is like a second hit. There is no loading or place for disabled people to park now.”

But the councils said it is a necessary measure to make sure shoppers can social distance while walking on the pavement.

It will also be looking at allowing extra time in car parks for shoppers and using streets that have been closed to allow pubs, cafes and restaurants to serve patrons in an open and controlled space.


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