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OPEN UP: Several residents call for reopening of Rickmansworth High Street to vehicles

 Published on: 3rd October 2022   |   By: Bryn Holmes   |   Category: Uncategorized

Several Rickmansworth residents have complained about the continued closure of the town’s High Street to traffic.

The section of the road between Church Street and Station Road was initially closed in August 2020 as part of social distancing measures introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But as the threat of infection eased, a decision was made to continue the closure, as part of a move to make the town more environmentally friendly and open up the High Street for businesses and markets.

A survey organised by Three Rivers District Council (TRDC) earlier this year found that 68 per cent of respondents were in favour of the closure. However, not all residents are pleased with the decision to keep the closure in place.

Some have expressed concern about an alleged fall in trade for the local businesses on the road, linked to the lack of traffic. They also state that the seating placed in the street by local pubs has led to “hostile” behaviour.

In a letter sent to RICKYnews, resident Mr Miles Price said: “The introduction of the closure has been hugely detrimental to the businesses in a High Street that is dying.

“Many of the businesses on the High Street are experiencing falls in trade of over 60 per cent since this closure was introduced.

“People have gone elsewhere and no longer shop locally. This can be rectified by the street being reopened again.

“Only Wetherspoon has benefited by using the bus layby, and it is now regularly full of aggressive and unruly patrons at all hours of the day.

“Businesses in the High Street and myself would like to see the street reopened fully during the day.”

Another resident, Ann Blythman, also wrote to RICKYnews, stating: “There is clear evidence that businesses and especially independent businesses are experiencing significant reductions in their trade since the High Street was closed to all vehicles.

“Our High Street is on its knees and this closure is one of the main factors contributing to it.

“In my personal experience, seating in the High Street outside pubs has led to daytime drinking in the street. This has encouraged drunken and hostile behaviour towards passing shoppers.

“While I understand the restrictions were initially brought in for social distancing due to COVID-19, we need to focus on a High Street recovery plan that attracts people to our High Street and encourages businesses to the area.”

Wetherspoon spokesperson Eddie Gershon said: “We are sorry that some local residents have concerns that the very limited provision for outside seating at The Pennsylvanian may have led to issues of anti-social behaviour from customers.

“The area is monitored by members of the pub team and covered by CCTV. If any customer is found to be misbehaving or acting in an inappropriate way, then they will be asked to leave the area immediately. We are not aware of any specific incidents but we have passed the concerns raised to the pub’s management team.”

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council, also acting on behalf of TRDC, said: “We’re going to be making some changes to the road closure arrangements following feedback from local residents and businesses on the proposal.

“We will then trial these new arrangements for six to 18 months with regular updates throughout this process and an ongoing opportunity for people to let us know how it’s going.

“Around two-thirds of people who responded to our consultation last summer supported the continuing closure of the High Street to help boost the local economy and make the area a more attractive and healthier environment, but we are conscious that there are a lot of issues to balance.”

Batchworth Community Council have also been contacted for comment.

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1 Comment

  1. Ivor October 5th, 2022, 8:40 pm

    We need a Mcdonalds on Ricky High Street.

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