More free parking and al fresco dining in bid to revive Stevenage High Street

Three cycle parking points have been installed in Stevenage High Street to encourage more people to

Three cycle parking points have been installed in Stevenage High Street to encourage more people to ride their bikes. Picture: Louise McEvoy - Credit: Archant

Additional free parking and outdoor seating areas are just two of the ways a council is aiming to attract more customers to a high street and help businesses recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stevenage Borough Council says it has been working to support businesses in the Old Town’s High Street as part of its continued response to the challenges presented by the pandemic.

Three temporary outdoor seating areas for eating and drinking have been put in place near Angelique, Costa Coffee and the social club - with flower planters and protective barriers marking out the areas.

The government has very recently given local councils new powers to offer pavement licences for food and drink outlets. Those businesses wanting to put tables and chairs on the highway can find further information at six months, the borough council is also providing free parking for up to three hours in the former Waitrose car park.

Finally, to encourage more people to cycle, Stevenage Borough Council has installed three new cycle parking points in the High Street, using government funding.

A spokesman for the local authority said there was “a very short window of opportunity to bid for this funding”, so there was limited opportunity to discuss locations in advance, but feedback will help inform this process in the future.

Councillor Lloyd Briscoe, SBC’s executive member for economy, enterprise and transport, said: “Our historic High Street is one of the aspects I really treasure most about Stevenage, and it has managed to retain its charm, its purpose, and is the go-to place for so many of us who live here. Long may it remain so.

“The changes we are making are designed to reflect our modern way of life whilst at the same time being sympathetic to our history and heritage.

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“I am passionate about our local history because knowing about what happened in the past allows us to better understand our present and to make informed decisions about our future.”

The changes are planned to stay in place until the end of March 2021 and could be extended if necessary, depending on the status of the pandemic.

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