Harpenden High Street Covid road closures to end imminently

Harpenden High Street with social distancing measures in place.

Harpenden High Street with social distancing measures in place. - Credit: Archant

Roads closed in Harpenden town centre since the end of the first Covid lockdown are finally set to be reopened.

The town council confirmed the decision today following a public survey over the summer.

In 2020, Herts county council together with St Albans district council and Harpenden Town Council, delivered a number of initiatives that aimed to protect the local community, including the vulnerable, to access essential High Street services.

These included the temporary introduction of social distancing measures in the High Street, which was an area of potential high risk due to its footfall and narrow footways, including the closure of parts of the road and the removal of parking bays.

This summer a survey was conducted to understand local views on whether these measures should be considered for a longer term trial period.

A project board, including officers and elected representatives from HCC, SADC and HTC, was created to help consider the options and decide upon the future of the measures.

Having considered the findings of this survey, listened to the views of local people and considered the issues raised by businesses, the project board has concluded that the continuation of the existing High Street measures is not the right option for Harpenden.

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These measures will now be removed and the High Street layout returned to how it was before the measures were introduced.

A spokesperson for HTC: "We know that the pandemic has presented challenges to local communities and businesses and it is crucial to support them going forwards.

"In the weeks and months ahead the town council will be focussed on supporting the recovery of the High Street. This will include delivering events and initiatives that draw people into the town and improving public spaces to make them more attractive, thus encouraging people to stay longer."

Former retailer Michael Weaver, who has been campaigning against the closures, told the Herts Ad: "This decision will be greeted by independent retailers as a crucial lifesaver - and it comes none too soon. These restrictions have had a continuing very detrimental effect on shop sales. With costs actually rising it is just simple common sense for the powers that be to try and let businesses get back to normal."

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