Warrington town centre is re-opening for business – and the council is working with partners to make it a safe, vibrant and active place for all workers, shoppers and visitors.
The easing of the government’s lockdown measures means businesses that sell ‘non-essential’ goods and services – such as clothes shops, department stores, electronics retailers and book sellers will be permitted to re-open from Monday 15 June.
The council has been working closely with partners, including Warrington Business Improvement District (BID), Golden Square Shopping Centre, Warrington’s Own Buses, Warrington Disability Partnership and the police to help the town centre get back to business, safely.
Robust plans have been put in place to support businesses as they resume trade, while protecting people’s health and wellbeing.
People coming into the town centre will see that a number of changes have been made to improve safety. These include highways improvements, increased support for cyclists and pedestrians and new safety signage to keep people safe as they move around the town centre.
The council has created more space for cyclists and pedestrians coming into and out of the town centre, with the introduction of some one-way roads, changing some routes to prioritise cyclists, and installing temporary signage for traffic to improve safety.
There has been a surge in people cycling during the coronavirus pandemic and the council wants to support the continuation of the move towards active travel.
• Public transport
Warrington’s Own Buses is supporting safe, socially-distanced travel through on-board capacity limits of 25%, screens and sanitisers and personal protective equipment. Face coverings must be worn by all people travelling and customers are asked to use the exact change wherever possible.
• A safer town centre
Working with partners, businesses and particularly the Business Improvement District (BID), the council has introduced a number of measures to improve town centre safety.
There will be a range of new signage, directing people to navigate the town centre via a one-way route, to keep their distance from other shoppers and to stay left where possible. The signs include key messages such as ‘keep your distance, ‘stay left, stay safe’, ‘follow the designated one way’, and ‘maintain the gap’. This is particularly prominent in Golden Square, where a great deal of work has taken place to make the shopping centre as safe as possible.
Warrington Borough Council Leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “I’m delighted that Warrington town centre is about to open for business once more. It’s vital that we get back to business, restart our local economy, and get our town moving again. However, during these unprecedented times, it’s clear that we’re going to have to do things differently.
“Public safety is paramount, and that’s why, working with our partners, we’ve introduced a range of new measures, from one-way routes and designated queuing areas to increased space for cyclists and pedestrians. We want everyone to feel confident that when they travel into the town centre to shop, work and enjoy leisure activities they can do so safely.
“You can help us by following the guidelines, being considerate of others and remembering that the new signage is there to protect everyone. Working together, we can make our town centre safe, accessible and ready to thrive again.”
As part of the work, the council is also rolling out designated queueing areas for the vast majority of shops. This will involve floor signage being placed in public areas to support businesses to queue their customers outside their premises.
The coming weeks will also see the appearance of some meet-and-greet volunteers, supported by the BID, to help shoppers get around the town centre.
People are also asked to keep in mind, and be patient with, people with access needs, such as sight or mobility issues, or other hidden disabilities, as they may not always be able follow the new rules and guidelines.
Further updates on the safe re-opening of Stockton Heath Village and Lymm Village are to follow in the coming days.
For more information about the re-opening of Warrington town centre, please visit warrington.gov.uk/back-in-business