New restrictions in Ironbridge receive mixed responses
A proposal rushed through by T&W Council this week to change parking in the popular tourist town came into force yesterday.
There is now no parking allowed along the roadside on The Wharfage, and the car park in The Square will only have short stay disabled spaces to allow access to the Post Office and the Chemist.
Cllr Carolyn Healy told Telford Live
"At the moment the message is to think about whether Ironbridge is the best place to visit st the moment. Very little open, no public toilets. We are working on how we can create more space so that it is easier to keep 2m apart."
The suspended parking will allow social distancing on the narrow paths in Ironbridge.
There are further plans to close the Wharfage to through traffic during the day completely. Some local residents and no doubt tourists would enjoy the safer, traffic free street scene, although for people arriving by car to find the Coalbrookdale car parks full, would face a detour back up Jiggers Bank and around Madeley, back down Ironbridge Bank and over the Severn at Coalport to find alternative parking.
This change was pencilled in for June 1st, but this has now been put on ice.
Cllr Healy said "That does have lots of knock on effects and we’re working to see if they can be overcome. With non essential retail opening in June we do have to move more quickly that I would like, but given the issues raised by locals we won’t be making such a change at the start of June.
"Highways are working through the issues raised to see if they can be overcome and to look at alternatives and I’ll be writing to residents and businesses with further proposals before we implement. "
No everyone welcomes the move. Businesses have had a terrible year so far. Floods in February putting many out of action for weeks, only opening their doors again a week or two before the current lockdown.
One business owner Donna Byard, who has three businesses in the town, told Telford Live "When Waterloo Road was closed for works business was dire. Many stayed away from that side they wouldn’t do the long drive.
"It was mentioned a few times in the past at meetings with business owners on the street and was always rejected as something they didn't want and how it would damage passing trade which many rely on. This has just been put in agreed by nobody from businesses. Unless its a good weekend or Bank holiday I think many will suffer badly.
"I do think they should try doing it just weekends/Bank Holidays right now. We need all the trade we can get."
Cllr Healy commented "What we are trying to achieve is a balanced approach that allows businesses to trade, makes it safer to welcome visitors back to the Gorge, and ensure residents feel safe coming into town for essential items like the newsagents and chemist."
The parking restrictions came into force yesterday, and Telford & Wrekin Council have urged everyone to avoid local beauty spots such as the Telford Town Park, The Wrekin & Ironbridge.