Retailing

Road closures are ‘accelerating the decline of the high street’, says Bira

Local authorities across the UK are “accelerating the decline of the high street” with “unnecessary” road closures, according to Bira.

The group said it has been “inundated” with calls from concerned businesses that post-lockdown accessibility issues are “significantly impacting trade”.

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Bira said it is now working hard to help address these problems, and to bring the issue to the attention of central government and the national media.

It added that, in many cases, local councils are going ahead with road closures, high street pedestrianisation, and the removal of car parking spaces , which are “all essential for shoppers to reach independent shops”.

At the end of July, it called on Boris Johnson to intervene and ‘reopen our high streets’. The plea followed its membership survey, which revealed that three quarters (75%) believed trade is being detrimentally impacted by lockdown road closures.

The poll revealed that of those affected, 55% said trade had been impacted ‘significantly’, while a further 20% admitted the closures had affected trade ‘a little’.

Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said: “It appears that many local authorities are doing their best to further accelerate the decline of their high streets with road closures, and removal of car parking spaces.

“The pavements are generally not that busy, and people still do not want to use public transport. The local authorities are doing a good job of supporting retail parks instead of their local business communities.”

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