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Temporary social distancing schemes in Wiltshire to be removed

The schemes will be removed in the coming weeks in Devizes, Marlborough, Malmesbury and Bradford on Avon, in that order, with work expected to begin in Devizes on 20 July.

Published 19 July 2021
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As national lockdown restrictions have now ended, Wiltshire Council is removing all temporary social distancing schemes in towns throughout the county.

The highways and footpath changes were originally installed during the early stages of the pandemic in 2020 to enable pedestrians to effectively socially distance.

The schemes will be removed in the coming weeks in Devizes, Marlborough, Malmesbury and Bradford on Avon, in that order, with work expected to begin in Devizes on 20 July.

Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: "As we're moving towards learning to live with COVID, the requirement for us to provide the social distancing measures is reduced, and that's why we're removing the schemes now.

"These changes were always designed to be temporary, and some of the bollards and other fittings are looking quite tired, so now is a good time to take them out.

"We know that some of these schemes have been well received by our communities, and we have had some requests to install them permanently, while others have proven to be more controversial. As the schemes were installed under temporary traffic regulation orders, any requests to make them permanent would have to be considered once the temporary schemes have been removed, and only then in close consultation with the town or parish council and with the broad support of the local community.

"The length of time it will take to remove the social distancing schemes will vary depending on what was installed, so people should not expect them to go overnight - but we have scheduled with our contractors to have them all removed in the coming weeks."

Kate Blackburn, Wiltshire's Director of Public Health, said: "While it's positive news that we are able to get back to a more normal way of living, we all need to remember that COVID-19 will remain part of our lives and we need to do everything we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

"This includes receiving the vaccine when offered, maintaining those really effective methods of prevention such as good hand hygiene and regular asymptomatic testing, and adhering to any restrictions that are still in place."

The full list of schemes to be removed is as follows:

  • Devizes, St Johns Street: removal of pole cones and barriers; removal of temporary road markings; replacement of previous road markings.
  • Marlborough, High Street: removal of pole cones and barriers, except those necessary to assist with business with additional seating capacity.
  • Marlborough, Kingsbury Street: removal of pole cones.
  • Malmesbury, High Street and Oxford Street: removal of pole cones and planters; replacement of previous road markings.
  • Bradford on Avon, Market Street, Masons Lane and Silver Street: removal of pole cones; removal of road markings, replacement of road markings as required; removal of one-way and associated signage.
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Published 19 July 2021