Temporary road closures create pedestrian zone in Saffron Walden as coronavirus restrictions ease and shops reopen for socially distanced shopping

PUBLISHED: 08:00 19 June 2020

Faye and Julie Redfern with the trays of flowers destined for planters around Saffron Walden. Picture: Celia Bartlett Photography

Faye and Julie Redfern with the trays of flowers destined for planters around Saffron Walden. Picture: Celia Bartlett Photography

Copyright © 2020 Celia Bartlett Photography. All rights reserved

Temporary road closures in Saffron Walden have turned some central areas into pedestrian zones to help pedestrians and cyclists effectively social distance as lockdown eases and shops reopen.

Julie Redfern (R) who arranged the order for hanging baskets for Saffron Walden. Picture: Celia Bartlett PhotographyJulie Redfern (R) who arranged the order for hanging baskets for Saffron Walden. Picture: Celia Bartlett Photography

Roads affected include Market Street, Market Hill, King Street, Market Row and Cross Street.

Roads normally closed to vehicles on market days are now closed Monday to Saturdays from 7am to 6pm, excluding Sundays.

Speed limits of 20mph speed limits have been introduced to routes around the town centre.

The change came into effect on Monday (June 15) through Essex Highways and will be managed by Saffron Walden Town Council staff.

Frank Riccio collecting his baskets in Saffron Walden. Picture: Celia Bartlett PhotographyFrank Riccio collecting his baskets in Saffron Walden. Picture: Celia Bartlett Photography

Town mayor Heather Asker said: “The whole idea is for pedestrian safety during the Covid-19 crisis, where we have got narrow streets and pavements.

“The shops have started to open - I think it will take a little while for shopers to get excited and come out.

“In the meantime we already have had queues outside the popular foodie places. With the narrow streets, narrow pavements, it’s difficult for traffic to pass when people are trying to give each other space. This is why this was pushed through.”

Cllr Asker and Uttlesford District Council chairman Martin Foley welcomed shoppers and businesses back on Monday.

Frank Riccio hangs his baskets with help from his neighbours at The Grill in Saffron Walden. Picture: Celia Bartlett PhotographyFrank Riccio hangs his baskets with help from his neighbours at The Grill in Saffron Walden. Picture: Celia Bartlett Photography

The mayor said: “People were coming up to us and saying it’s lovely to see the Square traffic free. The atmosphere was lovely.”

Louise Scutt-Richter, Saffron Walden BID manager, said: “We are delighted that so many shops are open and the town is buzzing.

“The systems that the shops have put in place to keep customers and staff safe seem to be working really well.”

Xenia Hudson of shoe, bag and umbrella shop Óshe on King Street said Monday had been good and Tuesday seemed even busier as it was also market day. Further shops have been opening this week.

Frank Riccio hangs his baskets in Saffron Walden. Picture: Celia Bartlett PhotographyFrank Riccio hangs his baskets in Saffron Walden. Picture: Celia Bartlett Photography

“Monday was a brilliant day. It was so lovely to see everybody coming out.”

Her store asks customers to wear disposable socks to try on shoes, and has gloves and hand sanitiser.

Kam Chauhan of Suitability Dry Cleaning in Central Arcade said customers were being respectful of social distancing, and coming in for duvet cleaning.

“We have signs up to say one person in at any one time. We have markings outside the shop to queue sensibly.”

Hassan from The Restaurant collects his hanging basket in Saffron Walden. Picture: Celia Bartlett PhotographyHassan from The Restaurant collects his hanging basket in Saffron Walden. Picture: Celia Bartlett Photography

The Tourist Information Centre has also reopened for a maximum of two people at a time, for a maximum of 10 minutes. Visitors are asked to browse ‘with their eyes’.

A spokesperson for Essex Highways said: “We have been working closely with the district and town councils, as well as the Business Improvement District (BID) to introduce measures in Saffron Walden to support residents with social distancing, in line with Public Health guidance around Covid-19. If this guidance changes, the measures will be reviewed and adjusted as needed.”

Jane Saja places the distancing markers outside her baby clothing shop Storks. Picture Celia Bartlett PhotographyJane Saja places the distancing markers outside her baby clothing shop Storks. Picture Celia Bartlett Photography

Xenia at Oshe shoes spruces up the window sills in Saffron Walden ahead of stores reopening. Picture: Celia Bartlett PhotographyXenia at Oshe shoes spruces up the window sills in Saffron Walden ahead of stores reopening. Picture: Celia Bartlett Photography

Xenia at Oshe shoes spruces up the window sills in Saffron Walden ahead of reopening. Picture: Celia Bartlett PhotographyXenia at Oshe shoes spruces up the window sills in Saffron Walden ahead of reopening. Picture: Celia Bartlett Photography

Saffron Walden market place is free from traffic providing a clear, quiet and safe space for the returning shoppers. Picture: Celia Barlett PhotographySaffron Walden market place is free from traffic providing a clear, quiet and safe space for the returning shoppers. Picture: Celia Barlett Photography

A happy Lesley at Tea Amo in Saffron Walden as businesses reopen. Picture: Celia Barlett PhotographyA happy Lesley at Tea Amo in Saffron Walden as businesses reopen. Picture: Celia Barlett Photography

Saffron Walden mayor Heather Asker, Uttlesford District Council chairman Martin Foley, Uttlesford District Council vice chairman Arthur Coote and Saffron Walden deputy mayor Richard Porch (The Saffron Walden mayor Heather Asker, Uttlesford District Council chairman Martin Foley, Uttlesford District Council vice chairman Arthur Coote and Saffron Walden deputy mayor Richard Porch (The "Chain Gang") tour the reopening town and welcome Michelle at Eden Lake. Picture: Celia Bartlett Photography

Friends Tony Calver and John Byatt sit for a socially distance chat in the market place with Saffron Walden mayor Heather Asker, Uttlesford District Council chairman Martin Foley, Uttlesford District Council vice chairman Arthur Coote and Saffron Walden deputy mayor Richard Porch (The Friends Tony Calver and John Byatt sit for a socially distance chat in the market place with Saffron Walden mayor Heather Asker, Uttlesford District Council chairman Martin Foley, Uttlesford District Council vice chairman Arthur Coote and Saffron Walden deputy mayor Richard Porch (The "Chain Gang") looking on. Picture: Celia Bartlett Photography

The The "Chain Gang" - Councillors Arthur Coote and Martin Foley (Vice Chairman and Chairman of Uttlesford District Council) Councillors Heather Asker and Richard Porch (Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Saffron Walden) -give the thumbs up for go, as the Essex Market town of Saffron Walden begins the phased reopening of businesses. Picture: Celia Barlett Photography

Saffron Walden town mayor Heather Asker and deputy mayor Richard Porch chat to PC Dale and PC Whitehead on their tour of a re-opened Saffron Walden. Picture: Celia Bartlett PhotographySaffron Walden town mayor Heather Asker and deputy mayor Richard Porch chat to PC Dale and PC Whitehead on their tour of a re-opened Saffron Walden. Picture: Celia Bartlett Photography


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