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January homes for sale by Property Peeps page sponsors Hunters Estate Agents and Letting Agents in the High Street HERE. Plus news that district council has decided to go it alone with a Local Plan is also on this page
Nailsea hairy bikers go for a Lord Voldemort look in a sponsored short, back and sides stunt raising money for Children's Hospice South West. Only two undecided events on the Nailsea calendar. Read more HERE
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Traffic free High Street
Nailsea high street will be closed to traffic from Monday, June 15.
However, access for delivery lorries up to 7.5 tonnes and disabled drivers including the community bus will be allowed as well as emergency vehicles.
Whether customers collecting large furniture items or stereo systems will also be allowed is a bit more of a fudge.
North Somerset councillor James Tonkin had a vision of a traffic free high street becoming a cafe society space filled with people enjoying al fresco dining with pedestrians and cyclists moving safely in these socially distancing times.
And it would allow the farmers’ market to set up stalls in the town centre without the monthly £1,000+ costly road closure licence.
But when Simple Green owner Bethan Williams told Mr Tonkin she would expect help on delivery days to manhandle heavy crates of flour and sugar across the car park to her shop the idea all began to unravel.
Eirik Bird, of Sam Bird television shop; Alan Goddard, of Home Additions and Stuart Burdge, of Hensons estate agents all added their voices to the dissenters.
In fact, Nailsea People could not find one business in favour of the proposal.
Although put forward as a temporary move necessary to safeguard social distancing in this time of pandemic long-term fears for the survival of the High Street were at the fore.
Next week barriers will go up across the road from PS Travel to Defra charity shop, again outside Waitrose and at the Link Road end of the High Street.
All parking bays bar except those for disabled vehicles will also be blocked off.
However, both the television shop and household furniture store owners have been reassured customers may park outside to collect heavy items.
Just how these customers and the delivery lorries negotiate the barriers is unclear.
Eirik Bird said: “I really think the number of people using our High Street and having difficulty in social distancing is being over estimated.
“Our pavements are so much wider than many other shopping streets that can't close their roads.
“I don't see it being much busier than it is now, as most of the other shops that aren't already open are by appointment like hairdressers and beauty salons.
“A lot of people will not want to venture out - other than for essentials - during this pandemic.
“I do believe a lot of people may only feel safe if they can park outside or near the shop they want to go into.
“If this is all about making pedestrians safe then the whole High Street needs be closed to public traffic up to Tesco supermarket with exceptions for buses, delivery vehicles and disabled badge holders.
“I do think this needs to be discussed thoroughly with all traders and public.
“It should be up to Nailsea to decide.
“I want to see our High Street survive these very difficult times.
“From our point of view being able to park our van, delivery vans and customers vehicles for loading and unloading is probably an advantage to us, but this is all about keeping the High Street going.”
Independent councillor Mike Bird represents Yeo ward which includes High Street on North Somerset Council.
He said: “This is a national scheme being introduced countrywide and not just a few places in North Somerset.
“I do have to disagree on there being enough room on the pavements to socially distance.“The situation at Weston General Hospital this week brings home that we still have to take the Covid-19 pandemic very seriously.
“North Somerset is reaching its peak of cases much later than other areas of the country.”
However, James Tonkin who was elected as an Independent councillor for West End ward and is North Somerset Council executive member for planning and transport has had the unenviable task of implementing the controversial road closures not only in Nailsea but also in parts of Portishead and Clevedon.
He said: “We are obliged to ensure social distancing as far as we possibly can, to ensure residents safety and save lives.
HIGH IDEALS: Cllr James Tonkin explains the closure to former district councillor Jeremy Blatchford out walking his dog Watson
“It also brings health benefits as cycling and walking improves well-being, reduces congestion, improves air quality and reduces carbon emissions.
“At present the pavements in the High Street cannot sustain social distancing.
“These measures are of a temporary nature during the Covid 19 pandemic.
“The High Street road surface was never designed for vehicles over 7.5 tonnes and is long overdue for a weight restriction limit, which is evident from the undulating state of the surface.
“The east end of the High Street is a bus route and does not have any off-street parking provision.
“However we intend to suspend the parking bays on the north side except for the disabled and unloading bays to enable social distancing outside the shops, together with a no right turn on the exit from the Waitrose car park.”
The High Street traders are concerned that temporary will become permanent and be a final death knell for the shops.
Alan Goddard predicted ‘chaos and at times dangerous’ situations when initially he was told his delivery vans could reverse into the High Street space outside his shop.
He said: “This does not give us the access that we need to trade for deliveries and collection both by us and our customers.
“This is just not going to work for us and has not been thought through enough.”
And he asked: “As far as Coates House using the ‘some of the road’ how is that going to be safe if emergency vehicles need to get through in a hurry?”
Estate agent Stuart Burdge ridiculed the proposal saying it hadn’t been thought out and was ill-conceived by people with a lack of business acumen.
A North Somerset Council spokesman said a formal notice confirming the closure date will be made soon.
Nailsea Town Council was not consulted on the temporary closure.
There is no date for the next market as currently Nailsea has no market manager although it is hoped it will be back in July.
As the UK's coronavirus lockdown began to ease on Monday, June 1, with millions able to see friends and family and more businesses set to reopen – there have also been warnings the restrictions are being lifted too soon. But the president of the Association of Directors of Public Health said in the Mail Online that their experts are concerned ministers are lifting the coronavirus lockdown too quickly, saying the Government's own five tests have not been met. The latest figures show that the number of deaths for patients with coronavirus is nearing 40,000 with North Somerset recording a spike in cases following the testing at Weston General Hospital and delaying the back to school plans.
Notices on Nailsea lamp posts
The move to close the High Street has proved controversial with many fearing it could become permanent.
Notices are now displayed on lamp posts with maps of the proposals all along the street.
Eirik Bird, of Sam Bird television shop, maintains all the traders had not been consulted and said he spoke to Anne Walton-Davies, of Beauty Incorporated, and Dave Ramsey, of Courtyard Hairdressers who claim it was the first they had heard about the move by North Somerset Council.
But Hunter Leahy director Mark Hunter said: “Having been in my office in Nailsea throughout the current Covid 19 situation, I have seen all manner of people sticking to and flouting the rules.
"I wholly agree with the main High Street being shut during the day to allow for social distancing and the ability for each business to create enough space to operate within current guidelines.
"How we will operate when the weather changes, I don't know?"
Stuart Burdge, of Hensons, said: “Much as I love Nailsea, unlike, The Beach, Clevedon and Weston-Super-Mare seafront Nailsea High Street is not a ‘destination’ and so the necessity to close for ambulation does not exist.
“Cyclists heading west which is downhill will be a massive danger to anyone wandering carelessly up the middle of the road and potentially a far greater danger than a few slow moving cars.
“The whole concept is a nonsense and we suspect a thinly disguised attempt under ‘emergency powers’ to finally close the High Street which has, as we know been a failed proposal of the past.”
However, resident Gill Stokes said: “Great idea; there are car parks behind all of the shops on the High Street for deliveries and the Link Road for buses.”
While Jenna Brown said: “Seems a negative article for what is positive news.
“A safer environment for shoppers and children from moving vehicles and associated pollution, more space for distancing and cost effective for the market.
“Let's hope the traders will reap the benefits with increased footfall after many difficult weeks.”
Sue Holt said: “As usual North Somerset imposing things with no consultation.”
And people like Sam Pearce asked: “Is this just for lockdown?”
Sarah Jenkins added to the Nailsea People Facebook page 'great idea'.
While John White said: “A James Tonkin diversion away from keeping the roads safe for cyclists by filling in potholes.”
Angela Casali said: “They have tried for years to do this and are using social distancing as a reason?
“Absolute ridiculous idea.
“We are talking Nailsea High Street not Oxford Street.”
Ian Thompson, of Thompson Commercial, said: “Is somebody suggesting with too many people wanting to shop in Nailsea it is necessary to close it to traffic - what planet are they on.
“Shops are closing all over the country - making any town more difficult to access is complete madness.
“Its been tried before and reversed very quickly.
“Seems common sense to me, leave well alone in the current situation.”
Sue Bales said: “Not sure where they get the idea that social distancing in High Street is a problem.
“The paths are not that narrow and on the occassions I have walked up there in the past weeks I have encountered very few people and had absolutely no problem distancing.”
It is not clear if refuse collection lorries will be allowed to use the High Street.
The closure is expected to last at least the length of the lockdown.
RA Wait Garage Services is still open for business!
John, Paul and Nathan have been working hard to help keep key workers, including NHS, supermarket and pharmacy staff, on the road.
They understand that the vast majority of their customers are currently staying at home right now.
Don’t forget that RA Wait offer a vehicle collection and delivery service to people in the local area who can no longer leave their homes.
This is at no extra cost so please ask for further details when you book your service, MOT etc.
Garages will undoubtedly be very busy later in the year when restrictions are lifted so if you need your car collecting sooner, please get in contact.
Whilst the government has announced a 6 month extension for cars that were due their MOT on or after March 30th, it’s important that your vehicle doesn’t become unroadworthy if you continue to use it.
Find us at Unit 24, Southfield Rd Trading Estate, BS48 1JJ or call us on 01275 866353 or visit www.rogerwait.co.uk
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