The director of Public Health in Hertfordshire says social distancing measures introduced in town centres can be adapted if the public thinks changes should be made.

Jim McManus, in a letter to Hertfordshire residents, has admitted that changes to parking and shopping street layouts in Watford, Borehamwood, and Radlett, among other towns and villages had to be done "at pace" to help keep shoppers apart from each other.

The council says this meant there was no time for any public consultation.

He adds that the council is willing to listen to feedback and "adapt the street measures" if appropriate.

The government has instructed councils to take the necessary action to make high streets safer for pedestrians to keep people two metres apart.

The council chose selected towns, including in Watford, which involved closing off part of the High Street to traffic, and cordoning off some loading bays and bus stops - the council says this extra space can be used by pedestrians instead of vehicles.

Borehamwood Times:

A view of Watford High Street at the junction with King Street

Borehamwood Times:

Some parking bays in Watling Street, Radlett, have been blocked off

In Borehamwood, the council has closed off two service roads of parking spaces in Shenley Road - which has dismayed at least two businesses in the town centre.

Raj Shah at Dipa News said last week that he was losing footfall because all the parking had gone near his shop and said the council has "overreacted".

George Fucia from chip shop Golden Plaice says he was "fuming" when he saw the spaces outside his chip shop cordoned off.

He said the high street "will not survive" these changes.

Borehamwood Times:

A service road full of spaces has been closed in Borehamwood town centre

Borehamwood Times:

This service opposite, which is near Golden Plaice, has also been closed off by the council

Borehamwood Times:

There are further measures at the other end of Shenley Road

Councillor Paul Morris, responsible for economic development in Hertsmere, says the county council needs to find a way to" marry health and safety against the commercial interests of business".

Cllr Morris added there is an "opportunity to finesse" the steps taken in Borehamwood, once the council has understood the "implications of these steps".

Professor McManus says in his letter: "The new layout is designed to assist all residents and businesses who are open and trading already, so that as the traffic levels and the number of shoppers increase, we can all safely move around.

"It is also ahead of wider retail opening anticipated in mid- June, to encourage shoppers back to the town centres and other key shopping areas.

"Your (the public's) understanding and support would be greatly appreciated. If you think an adaptation could be improved we are very happy to hear about it and can reassure you we will be listening to your feedback and adapting the street space measures."

The high street social distancing measures are being carried out in four stages and only phase 1 has been completed so far, which is to make changes.

Borehamwood Times:

The next phase includes further signage, looking at how the public behave with the new changes, and making any necessary alterations based on feedback.

Phase 3 looks at the wider reopening of shops while phase 4 is about revitalising the High Street and making a "comeback".

To give feedback to the county council about measures it has introduced, visit