Claims 'knee-jerk' Chesterfield road closures are putting off visitors to town centre

Council leaders have hit back at claims a number of ‘knee-jerk’ Chesterfield town centre road closures are ‘putting off visitors.

Monday, 7th September 2020, 7:00 am

Derbyshire County Council was given cash by the Government over the summer to close Corporation Street, South Place and Crow Lane to enhance social distancing and encourage walking and cycling.

The plans were criticised by opposition politicians who said they could not understand some of the measures being taken and now Chesterfield Civic Society has branded them a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction.

Philip Riden, the society’s chairman, said in a strongly-worded letter to Derbyshire County Council that the road closures made the town centre look ‘hideous’.

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Claims have been made that road closures are making Chesterfield town centre look 'hideous'. Photo: Pixabay

"Of all the wasteful, badly thought out knee-jerk actions taken by the Government in the last few months, the decision to give large amounts of taxpayers' money (£443,000 in the case of Derbyshire) to highway authorities to close or obstruct streets must rank as one of the stupidest.

"In Chesterfield it is inconceivable that the closure of South Place and Corporation Street has saved a single person from contracting Covid-19, or encouraged them to walk further.

"Nor has the erection of unsightly plastic and metal barriers and the dumping of large concrete blocks on other streets.

"All it has achieved is to make the town centre look hideous and to discourage people from coming to shop, eat or drink in Chesterfield.

"That is exactly the opposite of what the Government and local authorities should be doing.”

A spokesperson for Derbyshire County Council said the ‘temporary emergency measures’ were put in place to help give people confidence that it was safe to return to the high street.

“We’ve been working in partnership with district and borough councils to ensure appropriate social distancing measures are in place, but the limited amount of time we had to meet Government guidelines meant we weren’t able to consult local people or businesses about the changes,” she added.

“We’re happy to make adjustments or tweak our plans where we can and with the limited resources available as shown by the further changes we made to the area around South Place following comments from local people.”

Anyone who would like to comment on the changes made can do so here.

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