Published: Mon 1 June, 2020
Preparations are underway to create safe and welcoming shopping areas in towns and high streets across North West Leicestershire.
North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC) is planning to use floor markings, signage and barriers in Coalville and Ashby town centres to help shoppers and businesses adhere to social distancing guidance. Businesses in these towns are also being delivered a guide to help them adapt their business and manage customers in a safe environment.
Resources are also being made available to support all the other high streets and shopping areas in the district, with individual parish councils being supplied with toolkits this week.
All the work undertaken is designed to prepare town centres, businesses and high streets based on the Government’s direction that all non-essential shops may be allowed to re-open from Monday 15 June. Business owners are being urged to continue to follow Government guidance and not take the council’s preparation work as an instruction to re-open.
As part of the restoration and renewal of Coalville and Ashby de la Zouch town centres, NWLDC will keep car parking free in its car parks until Wednesday 1 July, when charges will be reinstated. Gylo, the owners of the Belvoir Centre, who recently took ownership of three of the car parks in Coalville have also joined the council with their own initiative to maintain free parking until at least 1 July.
Council car parks will remain free for NHS staff beyond 1 July and NWLDC will be linking in with the national website at www.nhs-freeparking.co.uk to provide this.
All on-street car parking enforcement will resume from Monday 1 June.
Coalville Market will also be re-opening from Monday 15 June with social distancing measures in place. From this date, public town centre toilets in Coalville and Ashby will also be re-opened on Mondays to Saturdays with charges removed to reduce hand contact and need to use coins at the entrances.
Councillor Richard Blunt, Leader of North West Leicestershire District Council, said: “Revitalising the local economy in North West Leicestershire and bringing people back into safe town centres is an essential part of our recovery.
“We’ve been supporting businesses throughout this pandemic, with £18m of grants distributed so far, but now it’s time to prepare for a return to a new normality where customers can be welcomed back safely.
“Our preparations are robust and balance the need for a safe environment with a system that is still welcoming to shoppers wanting to support local businesses. These businesses need us all now more than ever as we look to rebuild and ensure long-term prosperity for our entire district.
“I also want to thank businesses, Ashby de la Zouch Town council, and parish councils for their support in the coming weeks as we go through this revitalisation process. We’re working hard to provide all the tools and resources needed across the district but the work being done at a local level to implement these plans is invaluable.”
Councillor John Coxon, Leader of Ashby de la Zouch Town Council, said: “The re-opening of the town centre is an important part of the plan to get people back to work. Inevitably there will have to be some changes in the way that we go about our daily life in and around Market Street, at least in the short-term.
“It’s absolutely vital to the long-term future of Ashby that we support the business community in whatever we can. Let’s hope that this is the first step in reinvigorating our town and getting back to ‘normal’, however that may look in the future.”
For more help and advice businesses can visit www.nwleics.gov.uk/businesssupport