Aylesbury’s town centre manager says they are looking into holding live music events in the High Street following its pedestrianisation earlier this week.
Diana Fawcett said: “I am pleased that the area is now safer for our visitors and shoppers.
“This work is part of our commitment to improving the town centre and we will be working alongside the businesses in the High Street to identify how we can now make better use of the space that has been created through a variety of events and live music.”
Following the introduction of the pedestrian area of Aylesbury High Street several years ago, concerns were recently raised over pedestrian safety.
The experimental new restrictions came into force on Monday after negotiations between Aylesbury Vale District Council, the town centre manager and county council.
In a statement Bucks County Council said that the pedestrian zone areas were enforced with the use of automatic rising bollards but over time these bollards have become less reliable, resulting the upper High Street becoming a cut-through for motorists looking to avoid the inner ring road.
It adds: “The area has witnessed several near-misses involving pedestrians and, despite advising motorists and the issuing of on-the-spot fines, the problem persists.
“The introduction of the shorter Pedestrian Zone is making it possible to remove the existing rising bollards and kerbed island outside McDonalds creating a more open, less cluttered, street scene environment in this popular part of the town centre.
“Works to remove further street furniture in the area will continue, following the introduction of the experimental Traffic Regulation Order (TRO).”
The ‘new’ Pedestrian Zone will operate between 8am and 6pm seven days a week, with HGV loading and unloading permitted between 8am and 10am, and extends from Market Square to the Hale Leys Shopping Centre service road. It will be enforced with manually removable bollards.
The council adds: “As well as addressing the safety concerns, it is hoped that the new restrictions will help develop a ‘café culture’ in a safe environment and also the ability to host community events.
“It will also provide the opportunity to remove a number of signs and posts, thereby improving the street scene.
“These restrictions will be introduced by an experimental Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) giving the opportunity to monitor, and amend the effectiveness of the scheme – initially over a 12 month period - before deciding upon the detail of the permanent TRO.”
They confirmed that the new restrictions will result in the loss of four disabled parking spaces in the High Street.
However, they said that the loss is offset by increased disabled parking provision in the nearby Exchange Street car park.
“There is existing formal disabled parking in nearby Britannia Street, Anchor Lane and Kingsbury and ‘Shopmobility’ is also available in the Upper Hundreds multi-storey car park to further manage the loss.
“Consultation notices were placed on these bays, informing users of the plans and inviting their comments.”
Janet Blake, Bucks County Council cabinet member for planning and transportation said: “I’m glad we have been able to address the safety concerns in this busy High Street, and help make it more inviting for shoppers to use.”
Councillor Brian Roberts, AVDC cabinet member for civic amenities, said: “This project has taken more than two years of planning and we are very pleased to see all this hard work finally being put into place.”