Brits slam Gloucestershire local council for dumping town’s ‘soul’

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Residents of the Gloucestershire market town of Thornbury are angry at the High Street which has been closed to traffic. Banning cars on the street cost South Gloucestershire Council £4million.

Thornbury’s main street used to be very busy – pedestrians and drivers would often stop at a few shops to chat and have a look around, but not anymore.

Since cars were banned from the streets, the city center has been described as a “ghost town” by many residents.

Many objected to the program the council spent so many funds on.

John Riddiford, whose grandfather bought a shop on the high street in 1929, said: “It’s pure madness.

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Since the street was closed to traffic, petitions have filled shop windows and protests have taken place across the city.

But these have yet to convince council leader Toby Savage, who said the closure was “popular”.

However, the council consultation showed that 65% of the 2,890 people who responded were opposed to pedestrianisation, while only 29% approved of it.

As of 2020 the council has introduced a one way street route but only for buses, deliveries, collection and drop offs.

Christine Stone of Hawkins of Thornbury, a hardware store, added that trade had fallen because visitors “are no longer funneled along the high street”.

Last week a parish poll was held to see if residents wanted the street restored to how it was before June 2020.

Of the 2,567 who voted, 1,852 residents – or 72% – wanted the street to become open to cars again, while 707 people – or 28% – wanted it to remain closed.

A council spokesperson said South Gloucestershire Council believed in democratic processes and “continually listened to feedback”.

After the closure of the main street, a Facebook group was created to promote small businesses on the street.

The group’s description read: “Thornbury High Street may be closed to traffic but it is definitely open for business and we will be looking to hold events to promote local businesses and the high street as a shopping destination for all. .

On Saturday June 4, local artisans and small owners will gather in the streets to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee, with a party organized for and by locals.

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