Business owners to put forward petition against closure of road in south Leamington amid fears that temporary measure could become permanent

Business owners in Leamington's Old Town area will put forward a long-running petition against the possible pedestrianisation of one of the main roads in the area.
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Around 12 months ago, business owners in the area were getting concerned about the speculation of council plans for the possible full closure of Bath Street to traffic.

These businesses had all previously suffered massive falls in turnover during months of roadworks that had closed off the road fully.

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The owners fear a permanent closure of Bath Street to traffic could be the end for many businesses

Paul Lamat of Lamat's Hardware with the petition outside the shop in Old Town, Leamington.Paul Lamat of Lamat's Hardware with the petition outside the shop in Old Town, Leamington.
Paul Lamat of Lamat's Hardware with the petition outside the shop in Old Town, Leamington.

To try to stop this, Paul Lamat of Lamats Hardware in Regent Place began a petition with the support of other businesses.

Under temporary changes to the road layout of Leamington town centre to aid social distancing as many shops re-opened this week, Bath Street currently has only one lane open to traffic with the other open for pedestrians to use.

Mr Lamat said: "This petition was started three months before Covid19, so to use this pandemic as the reason to partially restrict Bath Street is in our view using the disease as a convenient “cloak” for something that the planners knew would be heavily fought against.

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"The recent closures that have been introduced on the Parade and the part pedestrianisation in Bath Street we believe have effectively closed off the centre of the town and damaged the flow through of traffic to the Old Town area.

"These changes have been implemented by the County and District Council without any consultation with businesses or residents.

"Just as businesses begin to see the future slightly brighter and clearer, their customers that want or need to arrive by car or bus are being hampered.

"This could kill off businesses that are “on the edge” or where the owners count this as the last straw against the high street.

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"We all agree that it is a great idea to have less pollution and access for bikes and pedestrians but the changes have all been made on roads with large pavements, so on these roads pedestrians were already catered for without any closures.

"We need to stop the pedestrianistion before it completely kills the High Street experience."

The temporary change to the road layout in Bath Street was among those announced last week.

These also include closing The Parade between Clarendon Avenue and Regent Grove, Warwick Street between Tavistock Street and Guy Street, and Regent Street between Bedford Street and Park Street.

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The scheme also involves the temporary suspension of some on-street parking.

Councillor Jeff Clarke, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for transport and planning, said: “We have been working with our key partners to bring forward these plans to temporarily change road layouts as part of our response to the public health crises created by COVID-19 and to reinvigorate our town centres and support the economic recovery.

"We have had to act swiftly which has prevented widespread community engagement, but we will be monitoring the scheme carefully and will adapt them as necessary to ensure they remain suitable and appropriate to local needs and conditions.

“The plans will help businesses operate, give the public confidence that they can safely return to use and enjoy the town centres and give our businesses and communities a much-needed boost.”