Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Help keep our pathways clear across Central Bedfordshire

Thursday, 18 June 2020

We must all continue to control the spread of coronavirus by washing our hands, wearing masks on public transport, and of course, observing social distancing.

The easing of the lockdown restrictions continues but the need to maintain social distancing presents challenges. We've been working with schools to re-open safely, preparing for non-essential shops to re-open, and keeping pathways clear to help provide more space, to ensure a 2-metre distance, where possible.

To help with this, we've been placing social distancing signs in town centres and outside schools, removing excess street furniture including bollards, bins and benches and cutting back vegetation to make pathways wider and clear of any obstructions. If residents see somewhere on the public highway that needs some urgent attention they can report it by emailing traffic.consultation@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

Residents can help too, by removing bins from outside their property as soon as possible after they have been emptied. By cutting back any bushes or hedges on their property growing over public pathways and to always park their vehicle considerately.

There are likely to be areas where it may be difficult for residents to pass each other or queue taking account of social distancing, local authorities have been given emergency powers to help address this. These powers mean that we can make changes to the highway or a public space to support local businesses to open and to protect customer safety.

An example of this has been established in Leighton Buzzard High Street, where a temporary closure has been put in place to pedestrianise the High Street to aid social distancing and safety. We'll be monitoring social distancing in town centres over the next few weeks to see if changes are needed elsewhere.

Councillor Ian Dalgarno, our Executive Member for Community Services, said:

We are doing everything we can to support our residents to social distance and ensure they can move around safely.

We would like encourage the public to help with this by making sure our pavements are fully usable. This could mean cutting back overhanging vegetation, avoiding inconsiderate parking and keeping bins off the footpaths as soon as possible after being emptied. We would like to remind residents to check for any active birds’ nests before undertaking any bush or hedge trimming.

We are already seeing a lot of residents being considerate and helping to achieve this goal, but there is more that we can all do to continue to keep ourselves and others safe.