Traders and disabled people criticise social distancing barriers in Cheltenham street

Traders and disabled people in Cheltenham says the temporary 'Toblerones' are causing them major problems. Credit: ITV West Country

Rows of kerbside barriers, intended to help with social distancing by widening pavements, are being criticised by disabled drivers and traders.

Andrea Berry - who needs to use crutches to walk - usually parks directly outside the shop she is visiting in Bath Road in Cheltenham. But now, because of the barriers, she has to take her chances in a side street, where everyone else is trying to park.

Andrea Berry has to park in a busy side street and struggles to walk to the shops. Credit: ITV West Country

Andrea Berry says the remaining disabled parking bays are simply too far away. She says that she now cannot get to the shops because of her difficulty in walking.

It's really problematic. For elderly people and for other disabled people like myself, it has been awful. In fact, so much so that I don't come to the shops down here, which is sad, when I live five minutes up the road.

Andrea Barry

Traders, too, are having problems with the barriers. Local butcher Dave Hoskin says that delivery drivers have difficulty offloading and the street is "chock-a-block... it's just a pain." 

Cheltenham cafe manager Michelle Righton says the barriers have caused chaos for traders. Credit: ITV West Country

Cafe manager Marcelle Righton agrees.

He says: "It's caused massive problems for the delivery drivers, massive problems for the little bit of street that they can park on. It's chaos. In my opinion they have not worked at all."

The money for the barriers comes from a central government fund, which was set up during the pandemic so that councils could introduce self distancing measures quickly. 

The barriers have been introduced to allow shops to open in safety during the coronavirus pandemic. Credit: ITV West Country

Philip Williams, lead commissioner at Gloucestershire County Council says: “The barriers were put in place to help local retailers reopen safely as lockdown eased, creating enough space to enable social distancing on narrow pavements, whilst maintaining parking for blue badge holders and access to loading bays.

"We’d encourage anyone with concerns to get in touch.”