Proposals to safely re-open town centres as lockdown eases have been finalised by the council.

Since the start of lockdown in March, most town centres across the country virtually closed. Some shops were allowed to stay open, but in the main, streets have been empty.

Now, following the Government’s announcement that restrictions on shops will be lifted on 15th June, town centres will open once again to shoppers. 

The county council has initially focused on its 12 larger towns to establish what measures could be put in place to ensure the safe movement of pedestrians, while still allowing for shops to receive deliveries. Work is also progressing to look at the shopping areas in some of the smaller towns and villages.

Many of the measures identified in the plans below are relatively simple. They include notices reminding people about social distancing, advisory one-way signs for pedestrians in some areas, working with traders to remove unnecessary street advertising boards on the pavement and liaison with the local Town and Parish Councils to relocate any street furniture that is causing a problem.

Please note -  the government has made it clear that social distancing guidelines remain in force, and that both inside shops and in all outside areas such as pavements and street crossings the public must maintain a two-metre distance from one another. 
Information about Alnwick Town Centre

Measures for Implementation from 15th June

  • Scheme of enhanced social distancing signage - including ground stickers, signs affixed to street furniture, bus shelters etc, targeted at pinch point areas including the pedestrian crossing points on Market Street and the pedestrian footways at Hotspur Tower.
  • Work with traders to remove unnecessary street advertising boards / display of goods on the pavement
  • Work with the Town Council to relocate any street furniture, but only if this is creating an obstruction that results in social distancing problems.
  • Increase maximum stay on-street parking limits in the town centre from 30 minutes to 2 hours to allow shoppers more time should they encounter queues etc.
  • Adjust timings of town centre pedestrian crossing to make it easier for pedestrians to cross quickly and reduce the potential for queues to form. 
  • Provision of additional cycle parking racks to encourage more cycling into the town centre.
  • Provision of ‘Community Ambassadors’ for at least the first week of reopening to provide a highly visible presence within the high street offering support and guidance to shoppers and traders and to have ‘eye’s on the ground’ to identify any issues for escalation.
  • Allocation of a senior manager to act as a key point of contact to the Town Council and other key stakeholders for any issues that require escalation/resolution.

Potential Next Steps for Consideration

The following potential next steps have been identified as options that will be discussed further with key stakeholders as a possible next phase of activity to create additional pedestrian circulation space for social distancing purposes, if this is required as the town becomes busier or to support the reopening of cafe’s, restaurants and other licensed premises.
  • Temporary suspension of some parking spaces on the cobbles at Bondgate Within and on Fenkle Street. 
  • Temporary pedestrianisation of Bondgate Within from the point outside of the ‘Iceland’ food store to ‘Bailey’s Corner’, except for blue badge holders’ vehicles and deliveries.
Information about Amble Town Centre

Measures for Implementation from 15th June

  • Scheme of enhanced social distancing signage - including ground stickers, signs affixed to street furniture, the bus stops at High Street etc, and targeted at pinch point areas in parts of Queen Street, Leazes Street and next to the Harbour Village.
  • Work with traders to remove unnecessary street advertising boards / display of goods on the pavement.
  • Work with the Town Council to relocate any street furniture, but only if this is creating an obstruction that results in social distancing problems.
  • Temporary one-way pedestrian signage along the footways on Queen Street from the Coop food store to the Tesco Extra food store (towards the harbour on the south side of the street and away from the harbour on the north side).
  • Suspension of 3 on-street parking bays on Queen Street, outside of Tesco Extra to create more space on the pavement when people are queing for the supermarket.
  • Review of directional road signs to encourage more through traffic for the harbour and Little Shore area to use High Street/Bede Street and along Church Street, in order to reduce unnecessary traffic along Queen Street.
  • Provision of additional cycle parking racks at locations agreed with the Town Council to encourage more cycling into the town centre.
  • Provision of ‘Community Ambassadors’ for at least the first week of reopening to provide a highly visible presence within the high street offering support and guidance to shoppers and traders and to have ‘eye’s on the ground’ to identify any issues for escalation.
  • Allocation of a senior manager to act as a key point of contact to the Town Council and other key stakeholders for any issues that require escalation/resolution.

Potential Next Steps for Consideration

The following potential next steps have been identified as options that will be discussed further with key stakeholders as a possible next phase of activity to create additional pedestrian circulation space for social distancing purposes, if this is required as the town becomes busier or to support the reopening of cafe’s, restaurants and other licensed premises.
  • Temporary suspension of some parking spaces on Queen Street.
Information about Ashington Town Centre

Measures for Implementation from 15th June

  • Scheme of enhanced social distancing signage - including ground stickers, signs affixed to street furniture, the bus stops etc, and targeted at pinch point areas including pedestrian crossings points on Woodhorn Road, Lintonville Terrace and North Seaton Road.
  • Work with traders to remove unnecessary street advertising boards / display of goods on the pavement
  • Work with the Town Council to relocate any street furniture, but only if this is creating an obstruction that results in social distancing problems.
  • Work with market traders to ensure that the market operates in compliance with social distancing requirements.
  • Provision of additional cycle parking racks to encourage more cycling into the town centre at locations agreed with the town council.
  • Provision of ‘Community Ambassadors’ for at least the first week of reopening to provide a highly visible presence within the high street offering support and guidance to shoppers and traders and to have ‘eye’s on the ground’ to identify any issues for escalation.
  • Allocation of a senior manager to act as a key point of contact to the Town Council and other key stakeholders for any issues that require escalation/resolution.

Potential Next Steps for Consideration

The following potential next steps have been identified as options that will be discussed further with key stakeholders as a possible next phase of activity to create additional pedestrian circulation space for social distancing purposes, if this is required as the town becomes busier or to support the reopening of cafe’s, restaurants and other licensed premises.
  • Temporary suspension of some on-street parking / loading areas if problems occur with social distancing at any pinch points along parts of Station Road.
Information about Berwick Town Centre

Measures for Implementation from 15th June

  • Scheme of enhanced social distancing signage - including ground stickers, signs affixed to street furniture, the bus stops etc, and targeted at pinch point areas, in areas such as Scotsgate, Walkergate, Golden Square, Marygate, Hide Hill and Bridge Street.
  • Work with traders to remove unnecessary street advertising boards / display of goods on the pavement
  • Work with the Town Council to relocate any street furniture, but only if this is creating an obstruction that results in social distancing problems.
  • Provision of temporary pedestrian island in Walkergate/Marygate junction to help pedestrians cross this junction more easily (prior to a permanent pedestrian refuge being installed later in the year).
  • Increase all of the town centre parking areas that currently have a 1 hour max stay period to a max stay of 2 hours.
  • Adjust timings of town centre pedestrian crossing to make it easier for pedestrians to cross quickly and reduce the potential for queues to form. 
  • Work with market traders to ensure that the market operates in compliance with social distancing requirements.
  • Provision of additional cycle parking racks to encourage more cycling into the town centre at locations jointly agreed with the town council.
  • Provision of ‘Community Ambassadors’ for at least the first week of reopening to provide a highly visible presence within the high street offering support and guidance to shoppers and traders and to have ‘eye’s on the ground’ to identify any issues for escalation.
  • Allocation of a senior manager to act as a key point of contact to the Town Council and other key stakeholders for any issues that require escalation/resolution.

Potential Next Steps for Consideration

The following potential next steps have been identified as options that will be discussed further with key stakeholders as a possible next phase of activity to create additional pedestrian circulation space for social distancing purposes, if this is required as the town becomes busier or to support the reopening of cafe’s, restaurants and other licensed premises.
  • Temporary closure of Eastern Lane to traffic so that there is a safe pedestrian route between the Maltings car park and Marygate, with traffic having to exit the Maltings car park via West Street and Bridge Street.
  • Temporary replacement of the bus layby with an on-carriageway bus stop on the north side of Golden Square adjacent to the Leaping Salmon public house, in order to allow for more space to be reclaimed for pedestrian use.
  • Temporary pedestrianisation of Marygate from Golden Square to Town Hall on market days (Wed & Sat), except for disabled/deliveries and access to Maltings car park and off street premises.
Information about Bedlington Town Centre

Measures for Implementation from 15th June

  • Scheme of enhanced social distancing signage - including ground stickers, signs affixed to street furniture, bus shelters etc, targeted at pinch point areas, particularly the pedestrian crossing points on Front Street and on the footways around the main roundabout by the Red Lion public house.
  • Work with traders to remove unnecessary street advertising boards / display of goods on the pavement
  • Work with the Town Council to relocate any street furniture, but only if this is creating an obstruction that results in social distancing problems.
  • Adjust timings of town centre pedestrian crossing to make it easier for pedestrians to cross quickly and reduce the potential for queues to form. 
  • Provision of additional cycle parking racks to encourage more cycling into the town centre at locations jointly agreed with the town council.
  • Provision of ‘Community Ambassadors’ for at least the first week of reopening to provide a highly visible presence within the high street offering support and guidance to shoppers and traders and to have ‘eye’s on the ground’ to identify any issues for escalation.
  • Allocation of a senior manager to act as a key point of contact to the Town Council and other key stakeholders for any issues that require escalation/resolution. 

Potential Next Steps for Consideration

The following potential next steps have been identified as options that will be discussed further with key stakeholders as a possible next phase of activity to create additional pedestrian circulation space for social distancing purposes, if this is required as the town becomes busier or to support the reopening of cafe’s, restaurants and other licensed premises.
  • Temporary suspension of some on-street parking / loading areas if problems occur on Front Street West outside of Rook Matthews Sayer estate agents and by the shops at the bottom end of Front Street East.
Information about Blyth Town Centre

Measures for Implementation from 15th June

  • Scheme of enhanced social distancing signage - including ground stickers, signs affixed to street furniture, bus shelters etc, targeted at pinch point areas and including pedestrian crossing points.
  • Work with traders to remove unnecessary street advertising boards / display of goods on the pavement
  • Work with the Town Council to relocate any street furniture, but only if this is creating an obstruction that results in social distancing problems.
  • Adjust timings of town centre pedestrian crossing points to make it easier for pedestrians to cross quickly and reduce the potential for queues to form. 
  • Implementation of 20mph speed limit to slow down drivers in Bowes Street to create a safer pedestrian environment when negotiating the narrow areas around the large brick planters.
  • Provision of additional cycle parking racks to encourage more cycling into the town centre at locations jointly agreed with the town council.
  • Provision of ‘Community Ambassadors’ for at least the first week of reopening to provide a highly visible presence within the high street offering support and guidance to shoppers and traders and to have ‘eye’s on the ground’ to identify any issues for escalation.
  • Allocation of a senior manager to act as a key point of contact to the Town Council and other key stakeholders for any issues that require escalation/resolution. 

Potential Next Steps for Consideration

The following potential next steps have been identified as options that will be discussed further with key stakeholders as a possible next phase of activity to create additional pedestrian circulation space for social distancing purposes, if this is required as the town becomes busier or to support the reopening of cafe’s, restaurants and other licensed premises.
  • Temporary suspension of some on-street parking / loading areas on Regent Street and Bowes Street.
Information about Cramlington Town Centre

Measures for Implementation from 15th June

  • Scheme of enhanced social distancing signage - including ground stickers, signs affixed to street furniture, the bus stops etc, and targeted at pinch point areas such as the pedestrian crossing points leading into the Manor Walks shopping centre and retail park area, as well as the pedestrian underpass on Dudley Lane near Sainsbury’s and narrow footway at the junction with Blagdon Terrace (next to Wetherspoon’s).
  • Work with traders to remove unnecessary street advertising boards / display of goods on the pavement
  • Work with the Town Council to relocate any street furniture, but only if this is creating an obstruction that results in social distancing problems.
  • Adjust timings of town centre pedestrian crossing to make it easier for pedestrians to cross quickly and reduce the potential for queues to form. 
  • Remarking of existing cycle paths leading into the town centre and provision of additional cycle parking racks to encourage more cycling into the town centre at locations jointly agreed with the town council.
  • Provision of ‘Community Ambassadors’ for at least the first week of reopening to provide a highly visible presence within the high street offering support and guidance to shoppers and traders and to have ‘eye’s on the ground’ to identify any issues for escalation.
  • Allocation of a senior manager to act as a key point of contact to the Town Council and other key stakeholders for any issues that require escalation/resolution.

Potential Next Steps for Consideration

The following potential next steps have been identified as options that will be discussed further with key stakeholders as a possible next phase of activity to create additional pedestrian circulation space for social distancing purposes, if this is required as the town becomes busier or to support the reopening of cafe’s, restaurants and other licensed premises.
  • Temporary suspension of some on-street parking / loading areas if problems occur with social distancing at any pinch points.
  • Scheme of enhanced social distancing signage - including ground stickers, signs affixed to street furniture etc to address any social distancing issues in Cramlington Village related to the reopening of licensed premises.
Information about Haltwhistle Town Centre

Measures for Implementation from 15th June

  • Scheme of enhanced social distancing signage - including ground stickers, signs affixed to street furniture, the bus stops etc, and targeted at pinch point areas, such as the pedestrian crossing on Main Street near the public toilets.
  • Work with traders to remove unnecessary street advertising boards / display of goods on the pavement
  • Work with the Town Council to relocate any street furniture, but only if this is creating an obstruction that results in social distancing problems.
  • Provision of additional cycle parking racks to encourage more cycling into the town centre at locations jointly agreed with the town council.
  • Provision of ‘Community Ambassadors’ for at least the first week of reopening to provide a highly visible presence within the high street offering support and guidance to shoppers and traders and to have ‘eye’s on the ground’ to identify any issues for escalation.
  • Allocation of a senior manager to act as a key point of contact to the Town Council and other key stakeholders for any issues that require escalation/resolution.

Potential Next Steps for Consideration

The following potential next steps have been identified as options that will be discussed further with key stakeholders as a possible next phase of activity to create additional pedestrian circulation space for social distancing purposes, if this is required as the town becomes busier or to support the reopening of cafe’s, restaurants and other licensed premises.
  • Temporary suspension of some on-street parking / loading areas if problems occur with social distancing at pinch points along Main Street.
Information about Hexham Town Centre

Measures for Implementation from 15th June

  • Scheme of enhanced social distancing signage - including ground stickers, signs affixed to street furniture, the bus stops etc, and targeted at pinch point areas, such as the pedestrian crossing points and the narrow sections of pavement at the end of Market Street as it approaches the Market Place and at the western end of Battle Hill near the Benson Monument.
  • Advisory speed limit of 10mph on Market Street to Cowgarth to create a safer pedestrian environment in this area where pavements are narrow.
  • Work with traders to remove unnecessary street advertising boards / display of goods on the pavement and in narrow streets, such as St Mary’s Chare.
  • Work with the Town Council to relocate any street furniture, but only if this is creating an obstruction that results in social distancing problems.
  • Adjust timings of town centre pedestrian crossing points to make it easier for pedestrians to cross quickly and reduce the potential for queues to form. 
  • Provision of additional cycle parking racks to encourage more cycling into the town centre at locations jointly agreed with the town council.
  • Provision of ‘Community Ambassadors’ for at least the first week of reopening to provide a highly visible presence within the high street offering support and guidance to shoppers and traders and to have ‘eye’s on the ground’ to identify any issues for escalation.
  • Allocation of a senior manager to act as a key point of contact to the Town Council and other key stakeholders for any issues that require escalation/resolution.

Potential Next Steps for Consideration

The following potential next steps have been identified as options that will be discussed further with key stakeholders as a possible next phase of activity to create additional pedestrian circulation space for social distancing purposes, if this is required as the town becomes busier or to support the reopening of cafe’s, restaurants and other licensed premises.
  • Temporary suspension of some on-street parking / loading areas if problems occur with social distancing at pinch points such as on Battle Hill, Priestpopple, Beaumont Street and in Market Place.
  • Temporary pedestrianisation of Market Street to Cowgarth, and suspend no entry into Back Row to allow access to residential flats and deliveries for Wetherspoons.
Information about Morpeth Town Centre

Measures for Implementation from 15th June

  • Scheme of enhanced social distancing signage - including ground stickers, signs affixed to street furniture, the bus stops etc, and targeted at pinch point areas such as the pedestrian crossing points on Bridge Street and
  • Advisory one-way signage for pedestrian movements on the footways over Telford Bridge and Chantry footbridge (northbound over Chantry footbridge and southbound over both footways on Telford Bridge).
  • Work with traders to remove unnecessary street advertising boards / display of goods on the pavement and in narrow streets, such as Bridge Street, Oldgate, Newmarket.
  • Work with the Town Council to relocate any street furniture, but only if this is creating an obstruction that results in social distancing problems.
  • Adjust timings of town centre pedestrian crossing points to make it easier for pedestrians to cross quickly and reduce the potential for queues to form. 
  • Provision of additional cycle parking racks to encourage more cycling into the town centre at locations jointly agreed with the town council.
  • Provision of ‘Community Ambassadors’ for at least the first week of reopening to provide a highly visible presence within the high street offering support and guidance to shoppers and traders and to have ‘eye’s on the ground’ to identify any issues for escalation.
  • Allocation of a senior manager to act as a key point of contact to the Town Council and other key stakeholders for any issues that require escalation/resolution.

Potential Next Steps for Consideration

The following potential next steps have been identified as options that will be discussed further with key stakeholders as a possible next phase of activity to create additional pedestrian circulation space for social distancing purposes, if this is required as the town becomes busier or to support the reopening of cafe’s, restaurants and other licensed premises.
  • Temporary suspension of on-street parking / loading areas if problems occur with social distancing at pinch points such as on Newgate Street, Bridge Street, Newmarket, Oldgate  and adjacent to the Waterford in Castle Square.
  • Temporary one-way traffic system on Bridge Street and Newgate Street, with vehicle flow running east to west and a return loop using Manchester Street.
Information about Ponteland Town Centre

Measures for Implementation from 15th June

  • Scheme of enhanced social distancing signage - including ground stickers, signs affixed to street furniture, bus shelters etc, targeted at pinch point areas, particularly the pedestrian crossing points on Main Street.
  • Work with traders to remove unnecessary street advertising boards / display of goods on the pavement
  • Work with the Town Council to relocate any street furniture, but only if this is creating an obstruction that results in social distancing problems.
  • Provision of additional cycle parking racks to encourage more cycling into the town centre at locations jointly agreed with the town council.
  • Provision of ‘Community Ambassadors’ for at least the first week of reopening to provide a highly visible presence within the high street offering support and guidance to shoppers and traders and to have ‘eye’s on the ground’ to identify any issues for escalation.
  • Allocation of a senior manager to act as a key point of contact to the Town Council and other key stakeholders for any issues that require escalation/resolution. 

Potential Next Steps for Consideration

The following potential next steps have been identified as options that will be discussed further with key stakeholders as a possible next phase of activity to create additional pedestrian circulation space for social distancing purposes, if this is required as the town becomes busier or to support the reopening of cafe’s, restaurants and other licensed premises.
  • Temporary suspension of some on-street parking / loading areas.
Information about Prudhoe Town Centre

Measures for Implementation from 15th June

  • Scheme of enhanced social distancing signage - including ground stickers, signs affixed to street furniture, bus shelters etc, targeted at pinch point areas, particularly the pedestrian crossing points on Front Street.
  • Adjust timings of town centre pedestrian crossing to make it easier for pedestrians to cross quickly and reduce the potential for queues to form.
  • Work with traders to remove unnecessary street advertising boards / display of goods on the pavement
  • Work with the Town Council to relocate any street furniture, but only if this is creating an obstruction that results in social distancing problems.
  • Provision of additional cycle parking racks to encourage more cycling into the town centre at locations jointly agreed with the town council.
  • Provision of ‘Community Ambassadors’ for at least the first week of reopening to provide a highly visible presence within the high street offering support and guidance to shoppers and traders and to have ‘eye’s on the ground’ to identify any issues for escalation.
  • Allocation of a senior manager to act as a key point of contact to the Town Council and other key stakeholders for any issues that require escalation/resolution. 

Potential Next Steps for Consideration

The following potential next steps have been identified as options that will be discussed further with key stakeholders as a possible next phase of activity to create additional pedestrian circulation space for social distancing purposes, if this is required as the town becomes busier or to support the reopening of cafe’s, restaurants and other licensed premises.
  • Temporary suspension of some on-street parking / loading areas on Front Street.
  • Temporarily extend the 20mph limit along Front Street to the Dr Syntax Public House.