The head of a business development scheme has asked for patience over controversial plans to pedestrianise Boots Corner in Cheltenham town centre.
Kevan Blackadder, chief executive of the Business Improvement District (BID), said people need to wait until the end of the trial before making a judgement on proposals, which could lead to traffic being restricted.
The purpose of the closure is to provide a taster of how Boots Corner would look like if the trial is successful, according to Cheltenham Borough Council. It has caused many problems and confusion for people all over Cheltenham. The reason for the closure was to make the town centre more pedestrian and shopper friendly.
Boots Corner’s closure hasn’t gone down well with everyone in Cheltenham, with some calling it a “terrible, terrible idea.” Another shopper said: “I saw a lady the other day and she didn’t know what to do. She was on a mobility scooter and she said, ‘Have I got to wait until the light goes or do I just cross?’ She was a bit frightened.”
Mr Blackadder said: “It’s a trial scheme and what nobody has seen yet is data on the impact on the number of pedestrians using the area. We have had businesses who have been opposed to it and they have had short term problems and potentially there could be long term problems if things aren’t done with deliveries. We are looking to help them with those.
“We’ve got other businesses down the Brewery who have seen a significant increase in the numbers of visitors and a number of people actually spending money in their businesses. So I think we need to wait, have a look at the data and it is a trial and the decision needs to be made at the end of the trial properly, either to introduce it full time or to say it hasn’t worked and we’ll go back to the way things were.”
Many people in the town seem to be confused about who is allowed to use the route. There are only a certain amount of vehicles that are allowed through the Boots Corner, and these include:
– Pedal cycles
– Vehicles loading or unloading from 6pm to 10am
– Private hire vehicles
– Funeral vehicles registered by Gloucestershire County Council servicing St Mary’s Church
– Post Office vehicles
– Emergency service vehicles, maintenance vehicles, waste collection vehicles, military vehicles
But beware – driving through Boots Corner and breaking the rules could cost drivers up to £60. Cameron Hayward, a 21 year old from Cheltenham, was told that he had to pay a fine of £60, but if he pays the fine in the first three weeks, he only has to pay half.