Town could see ‘supermarket-style’ one-way system for pedestrians post-lockdown

Sheringham town centre, which has suffered a dramatic drop in footfall since the coronavirus outbrea

Sheringham town centre, which has suffered a dramatic drop in footfall since the coronavirus outbreak Photo: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

A town’s high street could have a ‘follow-the-arrows’ system similar to that being used in supermarkets and DIY stores as a way of encouraging social distancing.

Sheringham town mayor Madeleine Ashcroft. Photo: Karen Bethell

Sheringham town mayor Madeleine Ashcroft. Photo: Karen Bethell - Credit: Archant

Sheringham Town Council is considering how to make its High Street safe for visitors and shop workers as restrictions around the coronavirus lockdown are eased.

Proposals put forward by the Sheringham Town Centre Development Group are to be considered by the council at an extraordinary meeting held over Zoom on May 26.

John Roseby, chairman of the town’s chamber of trade, said a one-way system - where people walk in one direction on one side of the High Street and in the opposite direction on the other side - would be preferable to temporarily pedestrianising the whole street, as some have suggested.

Mr Roseby, who, along with his wife, runs Rags & Bags clothing shop in Church Street, said: “I’ve advocated a simple one way system for pedestrians around the town to help them avoid contact with others as much as possible.

“The town should do all it can to create a feeling of safety and confidence for people using the town when restrictions are lifted.

“The commercial ramifications of doing something like shutting streets are really serious - there are businesses that are already on a knife-edge that would end up closing permanently.”

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Mr Roseby said any measures introduced would have to be sustainable, as it was unclear how long the coronavirus would continue to be a problem.

Hand sanitiser stations and the wearing of face masks for staff and/or visitors are other suggestions about how to make post-lockdown High Street visits safer.

Mr Roseby said social distancing was potentially more difficult in Sheringham than in many other towns because of the High Street’s narrow pavements. But he said any problems could be surmounted “with a positive attitude”.

He said: “We can put markings on the pavement saying ‘remember to stay apart’, and we can put signs on lamp posts. I think people will appreciate we’re making an effort to make it structured and safe.”

Madeline Ashcroft, town mayor, said there were many factors to consider when it came to reopening the town safely.

She said: “There are quite a comprehensive set of plans that have been put forward that would take us into the future.”

The government has signalled that it could allow non-essential shops to open from the start of June.