Footfall measured on High Street week ending Saturday 28th August was above the same week in 2019 and was the highest recorded since December 2019

Shropshire Council is ending the Pedestrian Friendly Shrewsbury trial tomorrow 1st September, two months earlier than planned.

Throughout the trial we have been collecting data, listening to feedback from businesses and sharing with our partners including Shropshire Council.

We have had over ninety responses to our business survey from a wide variety of businesses in the town centre.

Over 80% of businesses have stated they would like some form of pedestrianisation to be in place – with most businesses favouring complete closure rather than allowing some vehicles through as has happened on weekdays during the trial.

Less than 20% of businesses that have responded to the survey stated they want traffic arrangements to return to how things were pre-COVID with all roads re-opening to traffic in the town centre.

 

Shrewsbury BID Business Survey has had 91 responses to date
(55 retail, 21 hospitality, 9 Office & Commercial, 6 Other)

 

Some businesses have told us they have been having problems with deliveries and servicing during the restricted hours.  There have also been concerns raised about how the trial has impacted people with mobility issues.  We would have liked Shropshire Council to work with businesses and interest groups to address some of these concerns during the trial.

Compliance of the weekday traffic order in the first two weeks of the trial was poor.  However with better signage and a gateman in place, the number of vehicles using high street has reduced from 170 vehicles an hour (at the start of the trial) to 50 vehicles an hour during recent weeks – a reduction of 70%.

Feedback from our members suggests that full pedestrianisation on weekends has generally worked very well and has become a feature of the weekend experience in Shrewsbury.  The atmosphere of the town on weekends has been particularly vibrant, cafés have been able to use additional outdoor space and we are attracting lots of outside visitors to the town.

Footfall counted by Springboard cameras on Shrewsbury High Street during the past week was +1% compared to the same week in 2019 – this compares to a national figure for town centres of -20% for the past week.

All photos taken Saturday 28th August 2021

What steps are we taking?

Following business feedback received, we have written to Shropshire Council to express our disappointment that the trial is to be ended in its entirety two months earlier than planned.

We are calling on Shropshire Council to:

  1. Reintroduce a weekend closure trial, addressing concerns with disabled access.
  2. Reintroduce daily closures on Milk Street and The Square to allow hospitality businesses to have additional space available for customer use
  3. Work with the Shrewsbury Big Town Plan Partners to address concerns raised during the trial and develop a holistic strategy to reduce through traffic

 

We would like to hear from as many town centre businesses as possible – if you haven’t yet shared your feedback please complete our business survey here.

For full transparency we are taking steps to shortly publish all anonymised feedback we have received from businesses along with all footfall and vehicle data collected during the trial.