Stourbridge High Street pedestrianised
Stourbridge High Street will be temporarily pedestrianised from next week as part of a raft of measures to keep shoppers and traders safe.
More shops in town centres will open from Monday as the government moves ahead with plans to gradually ease lockdown.
Dudley Council is working on a package of measures in each town centre to make sure shoppers and traders can still follow government advice on social distancing.
One of the biggest changes will be the stopping of cars along Stourbridge High Street for the first time in decades. It will be in place from 9am until 4pm each day and will allow people to keep at least two metres apart as pavements are very narrow. The closure will be monitored regularly to make sure it continues to have an effect.
Stourbridge is surrounded by car parking which is free until the end of June on council-run sites.
Traders in all town centres will have access to online resources provided by the council, including posters for display in shops as well as the latest government advice.
Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for environment, highways and street services, said:
We have all had to adapt and change the way we do things over the past few months to keep safe and we hope these changes will help to do that while encouraging people to return to our town centres and support as many businesses as possible. The changes will be constantly reviewed to make sure they are working for both businesses and visitors to our town centres, while allowing people to stay safe.
We have had to work quickly to put a lot of measures in place ahead of June 15 when the non-essential shops start to open. It is vital we ensure that people are safe during this period.
In Stourbridge in particular, we have taken the difficult decision to temporarily close the High Street for periods in the day so that we can keep shoppers safe. This change will not suit everyone, but keeping people safe, while supporting businesses to open has to be a priority.
This will be constantly reviewed to make sure it is working, with future amendments considered if required.
In other town centres, such as Dudley and Halesowen, which are already heavily pedestrianised, there are lots of measures such as barriers and cones, being installed to allow people to move around as freely as possible, while maintaining that vital social distance together with changes in Brierley Hill.
The council has listened to requests from the public, local traders and shopping centre managers to make sure the right measures are in place. Signs and legal orders have also been hurried through to bolster safety.
Car parking in Stourbridge is available on Lower High Street, Birmingham Street, Tesco, Wilkinsons, Ryemarket multi-story and the open car park on Church Road which is a short walk across the crossing in to the town.
The council is in discussions with bus operators to move the High Street bus stop to the top of Lower High Street by the clock, just a short distance away, to make it easier for people to get to the shops.
In Halesowen, Dudley and Brierley Hill, signs, barriers and cones are being installed this week to allow people to walk around the town freely. An online hub has also been made available to businesses packed full of resources such as posters to help pass vital information, including social distancing, onto customers.
Council officers will also be visiting businesses to offer advice.
For more information visit www.dudley.gov.uk/coronavirus-guidance