The fund will ensure that the city centre, as well as other shopping areas such as Portswood, are reopened safely following government advice.
The Reopening High Streets Safety Fund is set to ensure public safety measures as well as social distancing. It is thought to be able to reinstate the local economy, ensuring that people are able to return to work and that customers are encouraged to visit the high streets.
Southampton City Council, in partnership with GO! Southampton, have outlined their new initiatives:
- Defined queue management
- Signage promoting social distancing and hygiene measures
- Extra space for pedestrians and cyclists
- Increased cycle parking
Councillor Steve Leggett, Cabinet Member for Green City & Place at Southampton City Council, said:
Southampton is known as a retail hub and we look forward to welcoming visitors back with effective safety measures in place. Getting customers back to the shops safely is going to be a vital part of kick-starting the recovery of our local economy and ensuring the future of our much-loved local businesses. The Reopening High Streets Safety Funding will enable us to put measures in place to re-open safety. We will also need the support of the public and local retailers to ensure everyone adheres to strict social distancing guidelines once they return. We’re encouraging residents to make journeys to our retail spaces by foot or bike where possible – to reduce emissions and traffic congestion.
Giles Semper, Executive Director at GO! Southampton, said:
We’re pleased to be working with the council to ensure there’s a joined-up approach to the reopening of the city centre. We’re also keen to see opportunities for outdoor dining progressed to ensure cafes, bars, restaurants and pubs are able to reopen as soon, safely and effectively as possible. This initial phase of the city’s reopening is part of our wider recovery plan for the BID area, with a range of initiatives planned to animate the city centre and encourage footfall over the coming months and beyond.
This follows from the council’s announcement of its Green Transport Recovery Plan. Costing £4.1m, the plan aims to ensure people are following social distancing while using more transport and will support those who choose to walk or cycle after an increase in physical activity throughout the city.