Traffic restrictions introduced in Hertford town centre last year to prevent the spread of Covid-19 could stay in place following a survey by the county council.
The measures included the closure of Fore Street through Parliament Square, removal of parking in Fore Street between South Street and Market Place, and restrictions in Maidenhead Street. Part of Bull Plain was also made available for outdoor seating for customers of the Hertford Coffee Lab.
A total of 1397 people responded to the survey, including residents, visitors and business-owners.
The measures in Parliament Square were most popular, with 65% saying they had a positive impact. The proportion of people who said the measures had a negative impact was 30%, with 5% 'dont-knows'.
Most of the concerns regarding the closure of Parliament Square focused on traffic congestion, and respondents' comments reflected this, along with the impact on trade .
"Not having the through route here has resulted in horrendous traffic. I would prefer this to be opened back up for use"
"Please remove the restrictions in Parliament Square. The are affecting access and trade to my business"
However, there was majority support for maintaining the pedestrianisation.
"A huge improvement to the atmosphere of the town centre, its been fantastic to see people eating and drinking in the sunshine. Hertford's pubs, bars and restaurants are one of its biggest draw and this road closure has given it a very welcome boost"
"Pedestrianising these areas is a huge improvement, making my family and me much more inclined to spend time in the town centre"
Views on the Fore Street measures were more mixed, with just over half of respondents saying the measures had a positive impact, against 41% saying they had a negative impact.
There needs to be a bit more parking in Fore Street although the planters are good and some should be retained. There isn't currently enough provision for disabled drivers to park.
The planters add beautiful colour and nature to the town centre. Restaurants spilling out onto the street create a great atmosphere. There is no need for these parking spaces as there is a multistorey just behind. The more cars driving through the town the worse the pollution.
The plant holders in Fore Street are now completely unnecessary, and short term street parking should be re-introduced there as soon as possible. Taking a parcel to the despatch shop, or dropping off donations to charity shops is now virtually impossible. There is no need for the questionable 'social distancing' measures.
Restrictions in Maidenhead Street were welcomed, with 57% saying the measures improved the area, and 26% saying the impact was negative. The main concern was with parking and motorists using the pedestrianised area.
I support the daytime closure of motor vehicles to Maidenhead Street, and would ask for more effective enforcement. There are still frequently vehicles in and at the end of Maidenhead Street in contravention of the regs.
Vehicles are a menace parking in Maidenhead Street and it would be great to see them real restricted. The out door dining area in Bull Plain is a really nice addition and I would strongly support this remaining.
Maidenhead Street should be treated as a fully pedestrianised area, except for access for deliveries outside of shopping hours, for the safety of pedestrians and the benefit of businesses. There should be stronger enforcement against vehicles continuing to access the street.
A Project Board including councillors from both the County and District Council has now been set up to review the results of the survey and hear from other key stakeholders before taking a joint decision on the future of each area.
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