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Pilot scheme to close off section of Sheerness High Street to attract shoppers

Left to Right: Heather Thomas-Pugh, Chris Reed, Steve Harding and Cllr Ken Pugh
Left to Right: Heather Thomas-Pugh, Chris Reed, Steve Harding and Cllr Ken Pugh

Musicians will herald the launch of a pilot scheme to close off a section of Sheerness High Street in a bid to attract shoppers.

A section from the clock tower to Victory Street, will be pedestrianised later this year.

The Sheerness Town Team, a group set up to improve the high street, is behind the plan and will be handing out leaflets on Saturday, August 3.

Although road closure orders have been approved for every Saturday for 18 months, activities are being organised for the next three months for a trial period.

Events are being planned to take place in the road in an effort to attract more visitors to the ailing town centre.

Buskers will be welcomed to play and other ideas for activities in later weeks include an arts and crafts fair, farmers’ market and kiddies’ roundabout.

Town Team member Chris Reed stressed it was an experiment and feedback will be sought from all to see if it works.

She said: “We really want people to come into town on that day to bring some more life so people go into shops.

“All these events are to bring life and colour and vitality into the High Street.

“To give the opportunity for cafes and pubs to be able to put tables and chairs out on the pavement and make us a bit more continental.

“Just give it more of a holiday atmosphere as well.”

Another Town Team initiative, market barrows, are planned for the opening.

Two of the three being made are hoped to be in place for local people to try selling their goods or produce.

Jason Sutton, co-owner of Frappe Coffee Boutique in the part of the road that will remain open to vehicles, thinks it should be the whole high street so that every shop benefits.

“The reason they want to keep it open is because of the buses but it’s only two stops and they could stop in Millennium Way,” he said.

“We want to get the whole high street buzzing, not just that end.”

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