Businesses on Cotham Hill are to be temporarily given extra trading space next month to support reopening amid COVID-19 restrictions.
From April 12, hospitality venues will be permitted to reopen using outdoor seating areas and a road closure is a response to calls from traders to provide outdoor capacity on Cotham Hill.
The move follows recent engagement by Bristol City Council that found more space for pedestrians and outdoor traders was a high priority for people living and working in Cotham.
While the associated closure to through traffic is a temporary response to the pandemic initially, the council will monitor its impacts to help design a similar, long-term scheme.
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.
The closure will be implemented using temporary barriers that will 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.
Cllr Kye Dudd, Cabinet Member for Transport, said:
We are pleased we can provide this interim solution for businesses that will support them to reopen during the next stage of COVID-19 restrictions. Our next move will be to work with locals to design a scheme that takes a more holistic view at the area to avoid negative impacts on nearby roads.
We encourage people to get out, enjoy the outdoor shared space and help give their local economy a boost when the restrictions allow. We also want people’s views as we monitor the impacts of the temporary scheme.
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. 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. The closure will give people more space to do this safely during the pandemic as well as create a more accessible, cleaner environment – whilst helping to address local concerns about safety and speeding traffic.
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.