A HAMPSHIRE town is introducing road closures and footway diversions to help shoppers comply with social distancing rules when non-essential businesses reopen early next month.

New Milton Town Council has announced that the measures will come into force on Sunday, giving everyone time to get used to the new layout before the mass reopening of shops on July 4.

Civic chiefs are hoping the measures will make people confident about returning to the stores.

A council spokesman said: "We wish to encourage shoppers back to our local High Street to support local shops and businesses by providing the safest environment possible.

"The safety of our residents and visitors is paramount, and we'd like everyone to enjoy the wide variety of our shops on offer in a safe and secure environment.

"That is why we are implementing additional measures following the recent relaxation of restrictions.

"The town centre has a problem with pedestrian social distancing at the Station Road traffic lights junction, particularly adjacent to Charles Nobel jewellers and Kimbers Carpets on the opposite side of the road.

"Because there's a blind corner both sides, pedestrians literally often bump into one another accidentally.

"At this location it is impossible to maintain the revised and recently announced one metre plus social distancing rule that will be introduced on July 4.

"From Sunday two road closures and various footway diversions will be implemented to address the problem.

"To alleviate the pinch points at Charles Nobel and Kimbers there will be a temporary closure of Old Milton Road from the traffic lights towards the Elm Avenue junction, with the left hand lane from Station Road south to be closed off at the traffic lights in order to provide more pedestrian space."

Council chiefs are also planning to close Osborne Road from its junction with Station Road north towards Spencer Road.

The spokesman said; "The access to all New Forest District Council car parks and existing businesses will be maintained together with on-street parking in Station Road."

Suna King, town development manager, added: "We are also keen that our town centre provides a pleasurable environment to shoppers."


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