Published: 16:07, 01 July 2020
| Updated: 16:09, 01 July 2020
The temporary closure of four roads in Sandwich has been called off in a surprise U-turn by council officials.
Sandwich Town Council had banned vehicles from entering Market Street, Delf Street, No Name Street and part of King Street following the reopening of non-essential shops on June 15.
It was aimed at attracting shoppers into the town and enabling them to socially distance as part of a 'Sandwich is Open' scheme.
But despite a survey taken by 200 people which found 90% of traders supported the move, complaints to Dover District Council have since seen the measure withdrawn.
In a public statement made yesterday, the Mayor of Sandwich Cllr Paul Graeme said: "In light of recent representations made to Dover District Council from local businesses which feel the road closures are impacting their ability to trade, the decision was reached earlier today to reverse the road closures and return these to through traffic.
"This decision was not taken lightly as the interests of both public health and safety and the support of local business have been paramount.
"The working group will continue to monitor Government guidance in the interests of public health and safety and work closely with local businesses, Sandwich Town Council, DDC, KCC and other interested parties to support wherever we are as we are able as we emerge from lockdown during these unprecedented times."
Resident Kath Gifford had previously spoken out against the measure, claiming it was putting people off visiting the town.
She said: "Who in their right mind decided to close four streets in Sandwich?
"It didn't increase the number of shoppers- in fact people stayed away. One hour free parking would increase footfall. They have it in St James, Dover, so why not Sandwich?"
John Vanderdol, owner of Sandwich Card Gallery and Balloons R Us in Sandwich's King Street, has welcomed the U-turn.
He said: "I'm really pleased that the roads have been re-opened. Maybe we can get back to some form of normality."
More by this authorEleanor Perkins
This website and its associated newspaper are members of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO)