Published on 11th June 2020
Cheltenham is getting ready to welcome shoppers back into the town from Monday 15 June as many of its non-essential retailers prepare to re-open their doors.
Regarded as one of the region’s premium shopping destinations thanks to its mix of high street brands and stylish independent boutiques, the majority of Cheltenham’s retailers have been closed since March, in line with the national lockdown.
In readiness for the re-opening, Cheltenham Borough Council has been working closely with colleagues from Cheltenham BID and Gloucestershire County Council on a number of measures to ensure it is safe for shoppers and traders to return to the town.
From next week, additional measures being introduced to the town centre by the borough council include the widening of the pavement on North Street to facilitate pedestrian movement and ensure safe social distancing should queuing be necessary outside Primark, Boots or nearby retailers. New signage will also aid pedestrian flows throughout the town, whilst many retailers will be using special Cheltenham BID pavement stickers to remind shoppers of the need to observe 2m social distancing.
From next week, there will be increased cleansing of public areas in the town centre and an increased presence of council staff alongside the ambassadors from Cheltenham BID, providing additional reassurance to the public and to support businesses through the process. Police officers will also be working alongside the team.
With the re-opening of its shops, the Regent Arcade car park will also be open again from Monday 15 June, although capacity will be reduced initially to ensure safe social distancing. As with other Cheltenham Borough Council car parks, visitors are being encouraged to use the contactless payment facilities at pay stations and ticket machines.
The measures being introduced by Cheltenham Borough Council have been supported by additional government funding. The recently announced Reopening High Streets Safely Fund (RHSS) has seen £50m shared between all councils in England aimed at supporting the safe reopening of high streets.
Steve Jordan, leader of Cheltenham Borough Council said: “The re-opening of our retail and high street marks a significant milestone towards Cheltenham’s economic recovery. However, it’s vital that we make sure this is done as safely as possible, so I’m grateful to our colleagues at Gloucestershire County Council and Cheltenham BID for once again working at such pace to bring forward these additional measures.”
As part of the county council’s social distancing trial schemes, on-street pay and display parking bays along Bath Road have been reallocated to give pedestrians more space to stay apart. Using water-filled barriers, the county council is trialling new government measures in this busy shopping area. Sharing the learning from the trial sites so far, the borough council will be able to make Cheltenham town safe for shoppers.
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for environment and planning at GCC, added: “We are pleased with how the Bath Road trial is going. We have used the learning from here and our other sites at Bourton on the Water and Tewkesbury High Street to pull together guidance which will help districts to reopen their high street spaces in a safe way. Where the county council can help quickly at a local level, providing signs and markings to keep residents and visitors safe, we will empower districts to make these changes.
“We have submitted our plans to government to enable access to the Emergency Travel Fund, and we are working through the priority submissions we have received from district councils for temporary “pop up” schemes. We hope to hear from Government soon so we can progress these as quickly as possible.”
Kevan Blackadder, director of Cheltenham BID said: “It’s crucially important that when people return in greater numbers to our town centre, they feel safe in doing so. That has been at the forefront of everything we have done in preparation.
“I know many people are desperate to be able to return to their favourite Cheltenham stores and we are really looking forward to welcoming them again.”
From Monday, a new supporting marketing campaign will also get underway to encourage locals back into Cheltenham. The Cheltenham – We’re Open campaign hopes to remind locals and day trippers of Cheltenham’s shopping offer and its elegant parks, gardens and open spaces.
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Notes to Editors
Cheltenham Borough Council has received £103,577 from the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund (RHSS). This funding is from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.
Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
Recovery for Cheltenham
Cheltenham Borough Council is working with stakeholders as part of its recovery plan for Cheltenham. The council’s draft recovery strategy can be found at https://www.cheltenham.gov.uk/recovery-strategy