Following the Government’s announcements to extend social distancing requirements by a month, the road closures in Eastleigh town centre currently remain in place. However, following legal advice, Hampshire County Council has advised the Council that when social distancing measures are lifted by central government, currently planned for the 19 July 2021, the temporary pop-up schemes which have been introduced across the County to support social distancing should be revoked.
Therefore, if step 4 of the Government’s Road Map proceeds as planned on 19 July, the Eastleigh Town Centre scheme will be removed and the roads reopened. If the Government further delays the lifting of social distancing beyond the 19 July then the closure would remain in place. The County Council have confirmed that they are, at present, unable to support the continuation of the Eastleigh scheme beyond the lifting of social distancing.
Whilst the County Council requires the road closures to be lifted when social distancing measures are revoked, the team is working with Hampshire County Council to explore ways to retain some of the areas which have currently been licensed for the use of tables and chairs to support businesses and the recovery of the town centre. The decision for this will be taken by Hampshire County Council.
The County Council are also currently analysing the responses to the recent public consultation carried out in February / March 2021, that included asking local people about future pedestrianisation of the town centre, any recommendations will be taken to the HCC Executive Lead Member for Economy, Transport and Environment Decision Day on Thursday, 29 July.
The Council remains committed to working with local businesses, residents and other organisations to improve Eastleigh town centre in the future. This could include exploring options for a proper pedestrianised area as opposed to the road closure that was put in place for health and safety reasons during the Covid 19 pandemic. Any future plans would be developed with extensive consultation with local businesses, organisations and residents.