St Albans boutique owner frustrated by road closure

Road closures have been introduced in St Albans city centre to promote social distancing.

Road closures have been introduced in St Albans city centre to promote social distancing. - Credit: Archant

A frustrated boutique owner says road closures in St Albans city centre are confusing customers and delivery staff alike.

Deryane Tadd, of The Dressing Room in High Street, said local businesses were not consulted about Herts county council’s recent decision to shut the road and neighbouring George Street and Market Place in order to promote social distancing.

She said: “Whilst we all understand the need to enable safe social distancing when stores hopefully reopen, the road closures in the Cathedral Quarter are causing significant disruption to businesses.

“They are hindering deliveries and collections from premises with delivery drivers turning away as there is no clear signage provided. Lack of access signage is causing confusion for courier companies and customers alike.”

The store is currently operating a click and collect service for online orders and the road closures have discouraged customers from collecting their orders, incurring postal costs instead.

Deryane said: “I am led to believe that these closures are planned to be a long term fixture, in which case we need clear signage and easier access.”

The boutique owner added that she thinks a proper pedestrianised area would be a welcome addition to the Cathedral Quarter, but the current scheme has been actioned with little thought or attention to how it will work.

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St Albans South councillor Sandy Walkington added: “Local county councillors were also not consulted - a pity because we could have advised on the obvious flaws.

“I have now got agreement that adjustments can be made. That does not mean scrapping the schemes, but better signage and more clarity on deliveries are not too much to ask.”

A county council spokesperson said: “We will take on board feedback from the local community and businesses and, where appropriate, tweak the layouts.

“We will also be looking at how things are operating over the next few weeks and, where necessary, make adjustments to further support the public health drive on social distancing.

“We hope that the High Street community will work with us to help make social distancing possible and we will consider adjusting things like delivery times to ease the situation where we can.

“We are encouraging people to walk or cycle to their local high street and avoid driving through where possible.”