Pavement markings set to help social distancing in Sidmouth

Stuart Hughes. Ref shs 22 18TI 4996. Picture: Terry Ife

Stuart Hughes. Ref shs 22 18TI 4996. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Two-metre markings will soon be appearing on the pavements of Sidmouth town centre to help people maintain social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Town, district and county councillor Stuart Hughes plans to make the markings himself next week, after the bank holiday.

Cllr Hughes, who is also the county council’s cabinet member for highways management, will be using a special template, and paint that will gradually fade.

The district council will be making similar markings on the Esplanade and in parks.

Cllr Hughes acknowledges that keeping a two-metre distance on the narrow pavements of the town centre will be difficult.

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But in Fore Street he has found a solution.

Part of the pedestrian footway is being re-paved to replace damaged slabs that were causing a serious trip hazard, and during the work, the on-street parking places have been blocked off with a barrier.

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He said: “The plan is to put up a more substantial barrier which can be left there when they’ve finished the works, and that will make a wider provision for the pedestrians on the east side.

“We can’t do much about the west, but we are toying with the idea of introducing a one-way system, so you walk down on the east side and up the west side.

“That seems to be been working in other places where they’ve introduced it, so maybe we could look at introducing it in Sidmouth.

“It’s little things like that that will not only improve the shopping experience during the Covid-19 pandemic, but will also make people feel far safer.”

There is also a possibility of making Russell Street, leading to Roxburgh car park, pedestrians-only during social distancing.

While traffic is using the narrow street, it is hard for pedestrians to keep far apart, but a car-free street would provide the necessary two-metre space.

Cllr Hughes said: “Sidmouth’s like many other old coastal towns, it has very narrow roads and streets and it’s very difficult to achieve anything.

“But we have got to work at this and make it safe, we do want people to visit us, and we need to make sure we get the town up and running as soon as it’s feasible and safe to do so.”

Read more about the proposals for safe shopping after lockdown eases: Plans to make Sidmouth ‘the safest and the best’ place to visit when lockdown ends

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