TEMPORARY traffic lights on Bradford on Avon's historic Town Bridge and wider pavements on some of the town's narrowest streets could be introduced to help enforce social distancing in the town.

Highways officers in Wiltshire Council have agreed to make improving social distancing measures in Bradford a priority during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Local transport group Streets Ahead has persuaded local councillors to back plans to temporarily widen pavements in some of the town’s narrow streets and introduce single lane traffic, controlled by lights, across the Town Bridge.

Cllr Sarah Gibson, chairman of Bradford on Avon Community Area Transport Group, said: “Social distancing and Bradford’s streets are a poor combination as they are often so narrow, especially over the Town Bridge and also going up Silver Street. where they do not fit government guidelines.

“Following a suggestion from Streets Ahead, I contacted Wiltshire Council about the need for social distancing on the pavements in the centre of Bradford.

“Subsequently, the statutory guidance from central government has come out suggesting that we do exactly that.

“Given that Bradford was already in conversation with the highways department about our need for wider pavements this has been given priority in their team and is therefore likely to be implemented fairly soon.

“This will be a temporary measure and last as long as the social distancing requires.”

Street Ahead’s proposals were discussed at a virtual Bradford on Avon town highways and transport committee on May 12.

Councillors, apart from one who abstained, voted to make the temporary changes to improve social distancing in the town, particularly for pedestrians.

Cllr Gibson said: “The proposal for social distancing measures in the town centre, supported by the town council, is being worked on by the Wiltshire Council highways department.

“They are looking at a more comprehensive scheme of alternate one-way traffic across the bridge with wider pavements, and the possibility of a pedestrian crossing on the north side of the bridge as an interim phase.

“The proposal should include widening pavements in Silver Street and in Market Street. This phase is more complicated and will require time to consider implications for side roads.”

Streets Ahead

are asking for a wider 3.5-metre footway to be constructed on the town library side of the bridge, and a reduced single carriageway of three metres for traffic, plus a barrier in between.

They added: “Silver Street should be one way uphill. We hope that many of the pavements for Silver Street will be widened at the same time.”

Town and county councils are pressing the Government’s Department for Transport for some of the grant funding for more space for pedestrians announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on May 9 to tackle the problem.

Cllr Gibson added: “It means there is more funding to deliver the preferred option but more towns in Wiltshire are asking for the same type of measures..”