High Street road closures postponed following appeal from traders

PUBLISHED: 08:09 13 November 2019 | UPDATED: 08:09 13 November 2019

The Slade bridge running beneath the High Street in Saffron Walden. Photo: CONTRIBUTED.

The Slade bridge running beneath the High Street in Saffron Walden. Photo: CONTRIBUTED.

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A plea from traders in Saffron Walden to postpone road closures planned for the weeks leading up to Christmas has been approved by Essex County Council.

Proposed diversions: Green - diversion route from south of closure; Blue - diversion route from north of closure; Red - road closure; Pink - direction of traffic to be reversed. Photo: CONTRIBUTED.Proposed diversions: Green - diversion route from south of closure; Blue - diversion route from north of closure; Red - road closure; Pink - direction of traffic to be reversed. Photo: CONTRIBUTED.

The news comes after the Saffron Walden Business Improvement District (BID) expressed concern regarding the proposed closure of High Street on November 16, 17 and 30.

According to a spokesman for the Essex County Council, the closures were planned to investigate the Slade, the bridge under High Street, to prepare for works in summer 2021.

Work on the bridge was planned because the structure dates back to the 1700s and was only partially replaced in 1964.

Councillor Kevin Bentley, from the county council, said: "In light of the concerns we have received regarding this closure and its proximity to Christmas, I can advise that the works have been postponed until January 2020. Thank you for bringing this to my attention and for sharing your concerns with me."

Jim Brewin, BID Chairman, said: "We named 50 businesses to reinforce our request. We're grateful to Councillor John Moran who, in support, spoke to Councillor Bentley and others on our behalf."

Cllr Moran said: "I think working in tandem, as we did on this issue, is the correct way to proceed and certainly got the result we wanted on this occasion."

In a letter to town councillors earlier this month, Jim Brewin wrote on behalf of local businesses to request the closures were postponed until after Christmas, which he said was 'the busiest time of the year for trade'.

In the letter, Mr Brewin said: "Retailers are already feeling the effects of very difficult trading conditions on our UK high streets. Just as we are heading into our peak trading time, Essex County Council is handing key Christmas trade to our neighbouring towns.

"By choosing the timing of these works, access to the town will be restricted on two key trading weekends in the run-up to Christmas. As you can appreciate, this is a very unpopular course of action for businesses in Saffron Walden.

"Can these investigatory works take place after Christmas, please?"

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