Herts council ask business to have their say on high streets re-opening

Alfie Brown

Local residents and businesses are being asked for their views on the COVID-19 safety measures that were put in place in local High Streets during the pandemic.

Hertfordshire County Council’s Public Health team has advised that, due to continued decreasing numbers of COVID-19 cases and increasing levels of vaccination across Hertfordshire, the current outdoor social distancing measures on high streets are not required. The virus is still circulating, and residents should continue to follow advice on Hands, Face, Space and fresh air. We will continue to monitor the situation.

Based on feedback to date, two different approaches will be taken:

  • Highways teams have been working with local councillors in five towns and have agreed that there are no additional benefits in keeping the restrictions. They will therefore be completely removed in Bishops Stortford town centre, Hatfield Road (St. Albans), Knebworth, Radlett and Ware.
  • In a number of locations there has been a good level of support for the measures. We’ve received requests for consideration to be given to retaining them for longer, as the focus shifts from public health to economic recovery, seeking to improve the environment for communities using and trading in the High Street. Therefore, whilst we seek further feedback, restrictions will remain in the following: Harpenden, Hertford, Hitchin, Rickmansworth, Royston, St Albans (four areas), Borehamwood (reduced scheme), Bishop Stortford (station Road), Welwyn and Watford.

Hertfordshire County Council will be inviting residents, business-owners and District and Borough councillors to give their views for four weeks, starting from 24 May, as part of the ongoing engagement to support the recovery of high streets. Based on this feedback, further changes may be made over the coming weeks or, for some areas, the measures could remain in place for a further 18 months.

Mark Kemp, Director of Environment and Infrastructure, said: “Our priority has been to keep Hertfordshire and our residents safe during the Covid-19 pandemic. We implemented measures to help social distancing and have supported our local businesses to open in line with government guidance.

We are absolutely committed to making every local high street the best it can be, so would urge everyone to let us know your thoughts on other sites and to help us make things better for our local communities.”

You can contact our Highways team on cschighways@hertfordshire.gov.uk or call on 0300 123 4047 M-F 8am – 8pm Sat 9am – 4pm.