CIVIC leaders in Whitchurch and beyond are welcoming proposals to safely re-open town centres as Covid-19 lockdown eases.

The moves are being instigated by Shropshire Council, which is considering closing Whitchurch High Street to traffic and making Wem High Street one-way, while in Ellesmere there are plans to improve pedestrian access.

Nicola Young, town clerk at Christchurch Town Council, says they are happy to see ways being put forward to allow the town’s markets to return safely in the coming weeks.

“Whitchurch Town Council is pleased to see that Shropshire Council are putting in measures within our town centre to maintain safety by promoting two-metre social distancing, encouraging people to stay alert and stay safe.

“We are looking forward to the town centre opening again in line with government guidelines and we welcome back our food traders to the Friday market on Friday on the rear car park of the Civic Centre from 8am until 12 noon.

“Central Government has set out a £2 billion programme to put cycling and walking at the heart of transport and we understand that Shropshire Council are aiming to promote this within our market town.

“The town council await confirmation of Shropshire Council’s proposals for Whitchurch town centre.”

Shropshire Council say it is making good progress in the work to ensure that people can safely and easily visit towns in line with social distancing regulations once shops and other businesses start to re-open.

Ways to make the town centres more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly are under consideration, along with signage, road markings, car park improvements and the possible temporary closures of roads.

The operation and cleaning of buses is also being looked at.

Ellesmere mayor Paul Golbourne added: “We are looking forward to the town fully reopening and getting back to some form of normality, observing social distancing of course.

“Although there are still a number of people who are frightened, hopefully it will help to reassure them.

“We have been reasonably lucky in Ellesmere that a number of the shops in the town are food shops which have remained open and changed the way they operated, with the newsagent really stepping up to the plate by delivering grocery items to vulnerable residents

“Shropshire council have put up a number of signs to remind people to observe social distancing, and will be closing some of the loading bays to help with the queuing at the shops.”

Shropshire Council says the schemes will be temporary but will be monitored and evaluated to see if there is a positive impact that would justify future permanent solutions.