Weybridge town centre could be part-pedestrianised under proposals being advanced by the Conservative County Councillor Ramon Gray.
Cllr Gray is concerned that our town’s main shopping district could “wither and die” in years to come unless bold steps are taken to ensure it remains a shopping destination of choice.
He is calling for around 100m of Baker Street to be closed to traffic at the end which meets the High Street to create a pedestrian precinct that will bring “all sorts of benefits for the area”, such as a regular market.
Cllr Gray told the Weybridge News: “The development of Baker Street – making the bottom end into a pedestrian precinct, seems a pretty logical step. It would provide an ideal area for events, whether they be artistic, retail or just entertaining, and it will attract shoppers.
“This would allow traffic to flow better through Weybridge town centre because it wouldn’t get held up by people turning right into Baker Street."
Much is said about town centres facing decline due to competition from the internet and large ‘out of town’ stores with generous parking, but this is not inevitable as Cllr Gray, who was elected Weybridge’s County Councillor in 2015, points out.
“Town centre shopping across Europe is on the up after many years of decline,” he said. “Unique shops are often seen as an important differentiator. This is a strength we have in Weybridge and in Baker Street, but there is work to do to improve the pavements and parking and the look of our shops. I am keen to hear from traders and residents of how we can work together on this.”
He added: “I would like to hear Weybridge spoken about as somewhere that is not just a good shopping area but is also nice place to walk around. Somewhere that is good to stop and have a coffee in the day and a meal with friends in the evening. There are many examples of this type of environment working very well already in the UK and I think it will work here.”
Local businesses and a number of residents have already expressed support for the idea of part-pedestrianising Baker Street. Cllr Gray is keen to hear your views. Email firstname.lastname@example.org