Concerns raised over welwyn garden city pedestrianisation plans

PLANS to pedestrianise part of WGC town centre have caused concern among traders who fear it will affect their business. Stonehills currently provides parking for around 20 vehicles, for up to an hour a time. Current big-name chains with stores there inc

PLANS to pedestrianise part of WGC town centre have caused concern among traders who fear it will affect their business.

Stonehills currently provides parking for around 20 vehicles, for up to an hour a time. Current big-name chains with stores there include Subway, Greggs, Debenhams and Evans.

This week, plans to pedestrianise part of the road by 2010 were revealed in Hertfordshire Highways' integrated works programme, much to the chagrin of Stonehill's smaller traders.

Jay Shah, who owns Choice, a crockery store on Stonehills, said: "If they want to half the parking spaces, there will be less footfall in our shops.


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"It will affect our trade.

"If the council want to do that, does this mean they will reduce our rates?"

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And Cyril Anderson, boss of Welwyn Fisheries, next door to Mr Shah, said: "Small business like ours won't survive.

"When it rains, people will stay indoors or do their shopping in The Howard Centre and leave.

"There are very few independent shops left in WGC, and the rents are so high that you can't survive unless you keep Stonehills as it is.

"Pedestrianisation would devalue the business."

A spokeswoman for Hertfordshire County Council insisted the project was still being drafted.

She said: "Although there are no firm plans at this stage, we're looking at the possibility of part-pedestrianising the road to improve both pedestrian and disabled access.

"We're also considering possibly extending the market into Stonehills."

* What do you think of the idea to pedestrianise part of WGC town centre? Are traders right to be concerned? Email your views to whtimes@archant.co.uk

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