Council reverses decision to close road through Penrith for social distancing

Cumbria County Council has reversed its decision to close the road through Penrith town centre after pressure from local businesses.

It had closed it to maintain social distancing but shops say it's been a kick in the teeth when they're trying to restart the economy after lockdown.

Part of the one-way system is reopening this afternoon (26 June) with further changes expected in a few weeks.

Middlegate and Devonshire Street will be reopened to all vehicles today (Friday 26 June). Restrictions will however remain in place for all vehicles at the top of King Street due to the narrow pavements at the pedestrian crossing outside the British Heart Foundation shop.

Residents and visitors to the town centre are encouraged to use the free car Eden Council parks to reduce the volume of vehicles travelling through the centre of Penrith.

Shoppers are also asked to ‘follow the arrows through the narrows’ and walk in one direction, on both sides of the road which faces the traffic.

Cumbria County Councillor David Whipp, Chair of Eden Local Committee, said: “I’d like to sincerely thank our residents and visitors for their patience and comments over the last week.

"These updated measures should help ensure that our visitors are able to shop in our town safely and also enable the businesses to open and thrive. I’d ask that everyone respects the temporary restrictions which have been put in place. These will continue to be reviewed in line with government guidance and feedback.”

Councillor Jackson, Deputy Mayor for Penrith Town council added: “We’re pleased that stakeholders have been able to work together to review the situation.

"The changes that have been made are welcomed and it is good that we will continue to work in partnership to review the situation weekly. Although there is some reduced on street parking in Middlegate, disabled parking, loading bays and the taxi rank will remain and all off street car parks are free until the end of August.

"These revised plans allow people to pop in and shop quickly if they so wish, supports our town centre businesses and allows safe pedestrian movement.”