Council's social distancing move to ban traffic in a High Street is killing off trade in Milton Keynes town, complain shopkeepers

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A move to pedestrianise Newport Pagnell High Street has prompted a mixed response from residents and traders this week.

MK Council came up with the plan to enable people to socially distance more effectively when many non-essential shops opened on Monday.

They erected barriers and signs at the entrances over the weekend, stating it is a temporary measure while social distancing measures are in place.

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Town mayor Paul Day explained: "There is not room for socially distanced queues to form on pavements alone and for people to get past, so MK Council have decided to temporarily close the High Street to most traffic during the days to allow shoppers to safely spread out into the road."

The High Street is closed to trafficThe High Street is closed to traffic
The High Street is closed to traffic

He said shops were still limiting the number of customers and the use of the road would allow space for people to walk safely past the resulting queues.

He added: "You may have seen similar arrangements are taking place across many towns and cities....Please safely return to our High Street and support our local shops."

However some traders say the traffic ban is making deliveries impossible and also killing their trade.

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"Some people don't want to walk into town, or else they are buying things that are heavy to carry. They'll just jump in their cars and shop somewhere more accessible," said one.

A resident said: "I have just completed my shopping in Newport Pagnell High Street in record time for a weekday morning. No queues outside the Co-op or Superdrug and very few customers inside either as nobody is coming into the town to shop due to the closure to traffic. Is this part of a cunning plan by Milton Keynes Council to kill off the High Street?"

The temporary measures restrict vehicle access to the High Street between Union Street and Ousebank from 9am to 5pm .

Buses are allowed access, and delivery vehicles can use the High Street between 7am and 9am and 7pm and 9pm.

Additional parking bays for disabled badge holders are in place at the edges of the restriction pedestrian zone