Roads to be closed in Harrogate as 'eye-catching' planters replace traffic cones for social distancing

Roads are to be closed in Harrogate town centre while traffic cones introduced for social distancing are replaced with planters.

Friday, 13th November 2020, 4:22 pm
Updated Friday, 13th November 2020, 4:28 pm
These traffic cones introduced for social distancing will be replaced with 'eye-catching planters'. Photo: NYCC

Harrogate Borough Council has warned drivers that temporary road closures will be in force on James Street and Albert Street on November 18 and 19.

This is so highways workers can replace the existing traffic cones with large planters as part of social distancing measures recently extended by three months.

Councillor Graham Swift, the council's deputy leader and cabinet member for resources, enterprise and economic development, said: "We recognise the majority of businesses and stores in Harrogate are currently closed. But we hope in the run-up to Christmas, and the anticipation that the current lockdown will be lifted, people will be able to return to the high street. And do so safely with the addition of these new eye-catching social distancing measures."

North Yorkshire County Council previously said the planters are "much more attractive" than the traffic cones and will remain in place until January 31.

It comes after a planned trial to pedestrianise James Street was delayed following complaints from the town's business sector

Both councils had hoped to test out the idea this year, but it has now been pushed back until 2021.

The authorities previously said they had listened to feedback from businesses and will keep the current measures under review.

The planters are being funded through the government’s £50m reopening high streets safely fund.

Councillor Don Mackenzie, the county council's executive member for access, said: "Our local highways team is working with Harrogate Borough Council’s parks team to install these planters alongside signage that will reinforce the message that it is safe to shop local.

"We are confident that the introduction of more attractive social distancing measures will offer reassurance to the public that they can shop safely and at the same time give much needed support to our local businesses."

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter