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Suffolk gets 60 requests for road and pavement work in handful of days for lockdown easing

PUBLISHED: 05:30 29 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:47 29 May 2020

Suffolk County Council said it had more than 60 requests for road and pavement measures for easing lockdown under the Safer Spaces scheme. Picture: ARCHANT

Suffolk County Council said it had more than 60 requests for road and pavement measures for easing lockdown under the Safer Spaces scheme. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Businesses in Suffolk preparing to reopen in the next few weeks following the coronavirus lockdown are being urged to press ahead with safety measures for their stores.

Floor markings are set to be more common across public areas and stores in Suffolk. Picture: GREATER ANGLIAFloor markings are set to be more common across public areas and stores in Suffolk. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

So far, more than 60 proposals for road and pavement changes to help facilitate lockdown easing have been made in just a couple of days.

The Safer Places scheme aims to help reduce the risks when businesses and public areas re-open with social distancing measures and include three pillars of work to alter roads and pavements – from small scale pavement markings to larger semi-permanent road changes.

MORE: Follow the Suffolk Coronavirus Facebook page for latest updates

According to Suffolk County Council’s highways team, 50-60 proposals had been submitted since the start of the week ranging from small scale pavement markings to larger works.

Funding for those had been given directly from the government to district and borough councils, but medium and larger scale works which could include road signs, traffic orders or work in the road itself would need to be carried out by Suffolk Highways.

Andrew Reid, cabinet member for highways, said: “We have a number of proposed schemes put in front of us and it is a case of impact really.

“A number we are close to agreeing and it is done on a case-by-case basis.

“If we are going to be making changes to pavements then we would be completely swamped and we just don’t have the resources to do that, which is why parish and towns are encouraged to do those themselves.

“[Requests for work] are coming in steadily but they are also advancing steadily. Some are straightforward and others are slightly more nuanced but we don’t feel like we are under any huge pressure at this juncture.”

The county council said it was keen to keep as much of its normal programme of road maintenance progressing as normal, but admitted there could be some short-term reallocation of resources to the lockdown easing measures.

Meanwhile, businesses are being tasked with putting in place the measures they need in their stores to keep people socially distanced, but a special ‘Safer Places’ group has been set up through Suffolk Resilience Forum to support those firms in their work.

MORE: Road and pavement changes due as part of Safer Spaces scheme

David Collinson, from the group, said: “The safety of our communities is the most important thing as our high streets and businesses recover.

“Ultimately, businesses are responsible to ensure the safety of their staff and customers, but through the Safer Places group, we’re doing everything we can to support them and help reduce the risk of infection.

Suffolk cabinet member for highways Andrew Reid said some changes requested were straightforward while others were more complicated. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCILSuffolk cabinet member for highways Andrew Reid said some changes requested were straightforward while others were more complicated. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

“While the most effective way to slow the spread of the virus is to stay at home we understand that people will want to visit the high street and parks, so we are supporting businesses and authorities to make these places as safe as possible.

“Everyone has a role to play in keeping each other safe. We can do this by continuing to follow the government’s instructions, such as keeping two metres apart from others, regularly washing our hands and limiting our use of public transport – think ahead about your hygiene.

“Suffolk has successfully slowed the spread of the virus, but we must all stick with it and keep following the guidance.”

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