Welwyn residents react to return of two-way system on the high street
- Credit: Archant
Welwyn High Street has returned to a two-way system after having barriers in place for months.
The barriers were initially introduced at the end of May, making the high street one way to allow for wider pavements to promote social distancing.
However the changes proved to be unpopular, with many saying the barriers were negatively impacting the shops on Welwyn High Street.
A petition was signed by more than 1,400 calling for the barriers to be removed.There were also fears the one way system was to be made more permenant in conjunction with the scheduled works to upgrade the A1(M) J6 to J8, but the works have now been delayed until 2025.Paula Gutteridge, who works at Katie’s Bakery in Welwyn, told this paper about the impact of the removal of the barriers.
She said: “We have definitely seen an improvement in footfall since the return to two way traffic on the High Street. In the last two weeks our passing trade has increased and also our more local customers who have told us they have been avoiding the village have returned to shop with us.
“It is so much more convenient when people can park right outside and just nip in for a loaf of bread or a take away coffee on the spur of the moment without having the drama of driving right round the bypass and then not being able to park.”
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However Welwyn resident Linda Beard preferred having the barriers in place when going shopping: “It was difficult before COVID, I often had to step into the road, so I welcomed the barriers to increase the pavement size but now it’s even harder if I need to try to socially distance.
“Now I’m finally allowed out after shielding indoors since February, I’m finding that all social distancing measures have been removed.”
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Fellow Welwyn resident Phil Spencer said: “It’s not all about money it’s about the survival of the village and the thriving community that it was and hopefully can be again. We do understand the need for social distancing measures where appropriate and sensible but the HCC measures were neither.”
Jackie Evans, who volunteers at a charity shop said: “It has now been open since August 18 and sales have plummeted.
“The removal of the barriers has made no difference, it’s the reduction in the number of people who are prepared to risk leaving their houses that has affected the footfall.”