A 20mph speed limit has been introduced in Epping High Street to aid coronavirus social distancing.

A section of Station Road, Epping, will also see a 20mph speed limit introduced as Essex County Council (ECC) and Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) announced plans to help keep shoppers safe.

Parking bays will be altered to become pedestrian areas to further improve social distancing in the town centre.

EFDC leader Cllr Chris Whitbread said: “Long-term, everyone’s wellbeing and livelihood depends on getting business back on its feet.

“Creating safer spaces for people to practice social distancing is crucial to limiting the spread of coronavirus, particularly on our High Streets. These measures will support immediate public safety and assist in the re-opening of shops and businesses.”

Work to install the new measures is planned to start on Tuesday, June 30, paid for by the government as part of national work to re-open town centres safely.

Called ‘Safer, Greener, Healthier’, these schemes aim to provide bigger, safer spaces for city centre shoppers, residents, workers and visitors to maintain social distance.

The zebra crossing central islands, bollards and belisha beacon in Station Road will be removed to allow for the carriageway to be narrowed and the pavement area to be increased.

Station Road will be closed to vehicles between the High Street and Hemnall Street from 7pm on the Wednesday, July 1 until 5am on Thursday, July 2.

Dr Mike Gogarty, director of public health ECC, said: “Providing space for the public to practice safe social distancing remains a core part of the measures we need to limit the spread of coronavirus. Helping people to social distance in traditionally busy urban areas will help immediate public safety; it will also make it easier as businesses re-open.

“Walking and cycling are healthy activities in their own right, they can help to lessen traffic congestion and consequently improve air quality, so these new measures are very supportive of societal demand.”

Cllr Kevin Bentley, ECC cabinet member for infrastructure, added: "While I recognise that many people will still need to use their cars, this is a chance to think hard about driving for short journeys. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to greatly improve our air quality and our health as well as the life opportunities for the next generation.

“Epping Forest District’s is among the first county schemes in the country to use this money to help people confidently return to shop and work, as lockdown measures continue to be carefully eased.”

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