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Ipswich road layouts could change under new town centre social distancing measures

PUBLISHED: 08:05 22 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:28 23 May 2020

Preparations are being made for more people t return to Ipswich town centre after the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Preparations are being made for more people t return to Ipswich town centre after the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Some road layouts in Ipswich town centre could change under proposals to enable greater social distancing - so shops can plan to reopen on June 1.

Prime minister Boris Johnson wants more shops to re-open from June 1 to kick-start the economy. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPrime minister Boris Johnson wants more shops to re-open from June 1 to kick-start the economy. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ipswich Borough Council is working with Ipswich Central business improvement district, Suffolk police and Suffolk County Council on the plan to begin opening up the town centre to more people.

Full details of the re-opening plan are set to be unveiled on Friday, May 29, but discussions are understood to include means of managing pedestrian flow, and whether some narrow alleyways would need to close or be one-way only.

MORE: Follow the Suffolk Coronavirus Facebook page for latest updates

How deliveries and rubbish collections are managed are also to be considered.

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere said: “This week we are able for the first time to talk about the first steps towards possible recovery.

David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said new measures in the town centre will be announced on May 29. Picture: IBCDavid Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said new measures in the town centre will be announced on May 29. Picture: IBC

“Plans are under way to follow government guidance and re-open the town centre – when the time is right.

“We are working with partners on proposals to change some road lay-outs to allow people to maintain social distancing as we see more shops re-opening.

“The safety of shoppers and employees will always come first. This has been our priority ever since the lockdown began in March. Most of our public buildings will remain closed while we await further guidance and we continue to stress the importance of social distancing in parks and open spaces.”

Mr Ellesmere thanked Ipswich residents who had “displayed patience and fortitude at this difficult time” and added: “There is still a long way to go and a lot of work to do. Stick with it Suffolk, stick with it Ipswich.”

How Ipswich Borough Council collects rubbish in the town centre is one consideration the task group is discussing.Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNHow Ipswich Borough Council collects rubbish in the town centre is one consideration the task group is discussing.Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

According to council data, latest footfall figures in the town centre on Tuesday recorded 4,865 people compared to more than 15,000 on March 2 before lockdown began.

Prime minister Boris Johnson outlined plans for more shops to re-open from June 1, such as homeware and clothes stores.

Currently the only stores open in the town centre are those deemed essential, such as those selling food, pharmacy products and toiletries.

Some market stalls re-opened earlier in the month but the government is keen for more stores to open as soon as possible to inject some activity into the economy.

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