Major changes are due to come into place in the centre of Cleethorpes to help the high street reopen safely on 15 June.
Following the relaxation of some of the Government’s lock-down measures, work has been ongoing to look at various pinch-point areas of the resort to provide people with enough room to circulate safely and enable them to follow social distancing guidelines.
Initially, plans were put in place for the Central and North Proms as people were allowed to exercise in the open air for longer and meet other people in public.
With the non-essential retail shops being allowed to open from 15 June, the focus has naturally turned to Sea View Street, St Peter’s Avenue and Market Street. Plans, drawn up by Engie, working with the council, have now been released.
Cllr Stewart Swinburn, Cabinet member for highways, explained: “We’ve been assessing various town centre areas in terms of space available to circulate, and have been monitoring how people are using the areas.
“We’ve already closed Central Prom for the foreseeable future – we know this is an area of high footfall, whatever the weather, and an attraction for visitors. There are other car parks in Cleethorpes which, even on last weekend with the sunny weather, are being underused.
“North Prom is closed to traffic as and when the area becomes busy. This will be even more important as the retailers on North Prom start to open their doors. We have a duty of care, as a council, to try to make sure there is enough room for people to circulate. What we can’t control is what people actually do, and Government has instructed us, and every other local authority, to put plans in place to help.
“It’s clear that there’s a number of points in the resort where people currently can’t maintain social distance easily, and the plans we’re putting in place will help address this.”
The temporary changes in detail:
St Peter’s Avenue:
- The highway will become one way for vehicles from Mill Road / Cambridge Street roundabout to High Street.
- On-street parking bays will be suspended, and barriers will be installed to allow people to walk in the parking bays safely.
- Two loading bays will be maintained, one at either end of the street.
- The highway will become one way for vehicles from St Peter’s Avenue to Alexandra Road.
- Most parking bays will be suspended, and barriers will be installed to allow people to walk in the parking bays safely.
- A loading bay will remain.
Sea View Street
- Sea View Street is closed to all general traffic.
- All parking bays will be suspended as a result.
- Parking in the car park at the top of Sea View Street will remain open (with access from Alexandra Road).
- Loading for premises on Sea View Street will be from Wardall Street and Cambridge Street at the lower end, and from the car park at the top end.
- Access to New Road will be maintained.
In order to help shoppers, plans are being brought forward to suspend parking charges for the first hour in the major Cleethorpes town centre parking areas (Wardall Street, St Peter’s Avenue and High Street car parks). These will come into place from Monday 15 June.
New signage will be installed to encourage social distancing across all these key shopping areas to help prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 between customers. Additionally, where necessary, some bins or street furniture may be moved to enable more circulation room.
“We recognise that these plans will cause some disruption across the resort,” continued Cllr Swinburn, “But we need to make sure that we’re doing what we can to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 whilst also encouraging people to shop in the high street. North East Lincolnshire is a great place, with enormous community spirit and strength.
“Given the urgency of these works, we have not had the time fully engage with businesses in the way we would for highway improvement works. We will be receiving feedback from businesses, and I have asked that all feedback is reviewed and considered. Ultimately, this is about making sure that people have enough room to move around safely and feel safe when visiting the shopping areas.
“As an authority, we can do what we can, but people also have a responsibility to make sure they take appropriate action to keep themselves safe. By working together, we’ll help to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak as soon as we can.”
Additional work is also being done alongside the physical space changes to help traders reopen their premises. Initially, the council’s regulatory services team are offering advice on how to create a COVID-secure premise, with posters and distance markers currently in design. A campaign to encourage people to shop locally is also in the design stage.
More information will be released soon about adaptations in other areas to help with social distancing.
The work has been supported by monies from the Reopening the High Streets Safely Fund and from the Department of Transport.