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Petition launched to 'open up Stamford' to help economy

A petition has been launched to ‘open up Stamford’ to help the economy.

Nik Williams, a resident of Wharf Road, is campaigning for some streets in the town to be accessible exclusively to pedestrians at weekends.

He believes this would allow restaurants and cafés to spill out onto the road as well as providing additional space for social distancing while in the pandemic.

Stamford resident, Nik Williams
Stamford resident, Nik Williams

Nik, 51, said: “I use a lot of the shops in town and try to shop locally. I thought that we were missing a trick in terms of trying to boost footfall in the town, particularly in St Mary’s Street and Red Lion Square.

“The pavements are extremely narrow and it’s a pretty hostile place for pedestrians, it’s not nice to walk through while traffic is charging by.”

Nik acknowledges that the route serves as a relief road when the A1 is blocked but believes temporary closures and barriers would mean it could be easily opened up again if needed.

Since launching the petition, the idea has been met with some negativity.

“I think the problem is that there’s no sensible way of talking about it, especially on social media, everyone is up for a fight if you have a different position,” said Nik.

Nik supports the St George’s Residents Association’s plans, which hopes to create low-traffic neighbourhoods in St George’s Square, St George’s Street, Maiden Lane, Gas Lane, St Leonard’s Street, Blackfriars Street, St Mary’s Street and St Mary’s Place.

He said: “I think it’s an excellent idea, particularly in Blackfriars Street as it’s just too narrow for vehicles.”

Nik added: “The rat run is pretty dangerous. I’ve lived in Wharf Road for six years and there’s about four collisions I can think of including a death.

“It’s probably a matter of time before someone is injured in Blackfriars as it wasn’t designed for cars.

“I would love it to be a low traffic neighbourhood.

“A trial of closures would actually give people the opportunity to see.”

Nik believes St Mary’s Street should be closed for a few hours each Saturday for six weeks as a trial.

“If it doesn’t work it doesn’t work but giving it a try is important,” he said.

While people in villages may oppose these plans more to those within walking distance of the town centre, Nik believes public transport could be the solution.

He said: “I can see the downsides in doing this but the upside massively outweigh the inconvenience.”

Nik plans to put the idea forward to Lincolnshire County Council .

To view the petition, visit: www.change.org/p/lincolnshire-county-council-open-up-stamford-to-help-the-local-economy

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