More needed to make Bexhill town centre safer for re-opening, business leaders say

More work needs to be done to re-open Bexhill town centre safely for residents and visitors, business leaders have said.

Wednesday, 24th June 2020, 12:33 pm
Devonshire Road in Bexhill town centre SUS-201106-125310001

Bexhill Chamber of Commerce said traders it spoke to last Wednesday (June 17) had seen about 20-30 per cent of what they would normally be taking on a normal Wednesday.

However, the chamber added there seemed to be problems with the public and customers being able to comply with the 2m social distancing requirement, set to be relaxed to ‘one metre plus’ on July 4, because pavements in Western Road, St Leonards Road and Sackville Road are mostly only three metres wide.

Anyone coming towards each other would not be able to practice social distancing because of parked cars preventing them walking into the road, the chamber said.

On Devonshire Road the problem was compounded last Wednesday by long queues of up to 15 people outside banks and other shops, it added.

Howard Martin, Bexhill Chamber of Commerce president, said: “We want our town to be able to re-open safely and our shops, cafes and pubs to once again be the vibrant heart of our community, but there are clearly challenges with maintaining the safety of customers and getting on with business. Bexhill Chamber is consulting a wide range of stakeholders including the charity Open Streets, who are experts in how to support and encourage shops to embrace the pedestrian pound.

“They are specialists in how effective town planning can be utilised to maximum effect to encourage and support an increase in town centre footfalls. Our chamber is also intending to launch an independent retailer support scheme where for only £5 per month shops can directly invest in improving their environment and increase footfall.”

If any retailers are interested in this scheme they should contact Bexhill Chamber via its Facebook page.

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