Cumbria County Council’s highways department is supporting Copeland Borough Council and Whitehaven Town Council to implement a number of new traffic and pedestrian measures across Copeland, which will take effect from this Friday, 19 June in time for the first weekend of shopping following the relaxation of government restrictions.
The new measures are required to maintain the ongoing social distancing guidance from the government, to manage road space and limit the risk to the general public by significantly reducing the amount of traffic in and around town centres.
Vehicle access will be maintained on all routes, however there will be restricted parking for all vehicles on the South side of the carriageway on Lowther Street (Whitehaven) and a section on the North side outside HSBC and Natwest – effectively extending the width of the footway in line with government guidance.
Dedicated loading areas will still be available on Lowther Street at suitable points.
The bus stop on Lowther Street will also be suspended on a temporary basis with users of this service advised in the short term to use the bus stop located on Strand Street.
King Street and Market Place in Whitehaven will also see enhanced signage advising pedestrians to maintain a safe distance, including direction of travel.
We ask that drivers respect the restrictions in place as they are essential to maintaining the latest public health guidance regarding COVID-19.
Copeland Borough Council’s long stay car parks (Sports Centre and North Shore in Whitehaven, and Chapel Street in Egremont) and Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners car parks (Queen Street North, Queen Street South, Tangier Street and Queens Dock) remain free for NHS staff and volunteers, and care workers, seven days a week.
All of Copeland Borough Council’s town centre car parks, and those operated by Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners, are still free for everyone to use at weekends until the end of July.
When using the car parks, customers are advised to follow social distancing guidance, for example by choosing a parking bay that is not adjacent to another car, when possible, and queueing at a 2m distance to pay. The council is recommending that people pay using cards and preferably contactless card technology, rather than cash.
Copeland Borough Council has also published a webpage on the reopening of its town centres, containing a wealth of information and advice for businesses and shoppers – https://www.copeland.gov.uk/non-essential-businesses-reopening.
Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council’s Cabient Member for Highways and Transport, said: “These temporary measures are important to maintain social distancing guidance and while they may cause some initial disruption as we all get used to the new restrictions, I’d ask for everyone’s cooperation and understanding as we adapt to new ways of living and working during this difficult time. The new measures will be monitored and reviewed on a regular basis, and I’d like to thank colleagues from Copeland Borough Council and Whitehaven Town Council for working together to implement them.”
Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said: “We are encouraging people to begin returning to our town centres, to support our local businesses, and are working closely with Cumbria County Council, Whitehaven Town Council and partners to ensure this can be done safely and to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
“Our towns and shopping areas may look somewhat different as we put measures in place, but this is being done to ensure shoppers and visitors can use our towns and businesses safely, and to help protect town centre workers.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely – not just in Whitehaven but across all four of our towns – and will introduce or adapt measures as appropriate.”