Popular Bristol shopping street to ban traffic in support of businesses during pandemic

Pedestrians and motorists currently compete for space on Cotham Hill in Bristol
Pedestrians and motorists currently use the popular Cotham Hill shopping area Credit: ITV News West Country

Businesses on Cotham Hill in Bristol will be given extra trading space next month to support reopening amid Covid-19 restrictions.

From Monday 12 April, two parts of the road will be closed to traffic allowing hospitality venues to reopen using outdoor seating areas.

Traders say they are grateful for the news, and hope it will help make Cotham Hill an independent destination high street. 

Dan Williams, owner of Coffee and Beer, and Kieran and Imogen Waite, Bravas owners, said: "We are really grateful that the Cotham Hill community will get the road closure many of us have asked for.

Barriers outside businesses will give customers more room to move Credit: ITV News West Country

"This will allow us to reopen in April using outdoor space. Without it we would have to remain closed and, after an incredibly difficult year, this could be the difference between our businesses surviving or not.

"It will help to cement Cotham Hill as an independent, destination high street where people can come for a stroll to browse and support the variety of great businesses.

"We are excited to see some new and old faces soon and hope this temporary closure will be a successful trial to help inform a more permanent strategy for the road."

At the moment, the closure is temporary but Bristol City Council says it will monitor the impacts for a potential longer-term scheme.

Many businesses in Cotham Hill have had to remain closed during the pandemic Credit: ITV News West Country

Mayor Marvin Rees said: "Since last summer we have delivered a package of transport upgrades to make it easier for Bristolians to get around during the pandemic.

"We have been flexible in our approach of using temporary materials to create more space for pedestrian and cyclists, and I am pleased that we are now able to do the same for Cotham Hill.

"It has been clear from speaking to traders and our recent engagement that some form of road closure is a key priority for local people, and we will be working with the community on plans for a longer-term scheme.

"Our aim is to deliver more liveable neighbourhoods right across the city that are free from traffic congestion and pollution."

Two parts of the road will be closed to through traffic - between Whiteladies Gate and Hampton Lane; and between Hampton Park and Abbotsford Road.

This will provide space for businesses and residents to gain access for loading and deliveries, while also preventing the road from being used as a through-route.

There will be temporary barriers to provide space for businesses to trade outdoors on both sides of the road, with a shared space for pedestrians and cyclists in the middle.

Barriers and signs will be in place to ensure reduced cycle speeds in the shared space.

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