Some of the social distancing measures in Borehamwood town centre are set to be relaxed.

The promising news for Shenley Road businesses comes when a shopkeeper says footfall has stayed low despite restrictions easing on shopping and social activity.

In May, Hertfordshire County Council put in closures and barriers in the town centre as part of plans drawn up by the government to help keep pedestrians apart from each other.

The idea of shutting off parking and keeping vehicles away from pavements meant there was more space for people to walk.

It also came at a time when Hertsmere had the highest Covid-19 death rate in the UK.

Raj Shah, of Dipa News, saw the service road outside his shop closed which meant there was little parking for his customers.

Although he understood the need for precautions, Mr Shah accused the council in May of "overreacting" with the measures and said business had dropped.

Come the end of July, Mr Shah and his neighbours are still experiencing a lack of customers, and he thinks the loss of parking is one of the biggest reasons.

Borehamwood Times:

Yellow signs urge pedestrians to keep a safe distance from each other in Borehamwood

He said: "Not having parking is having a detrimental effect. Footfall has dropped because we are losing all passing trade.

"It is time to reopen the service road completely and hopefully that will encourage people to get out and about."

He added: "Of course I want people to be safe. The last thing anyone wants is a local spike and lockdown – that would finish the town.

"But I too have to survive as a business. We’re in it together."

Mr Shah's wish may be granted, with the county council telling the Times it plans to lift some of the measures it has put in place - although it may not be for another month in some places.

So far, barriers on the station side of Shenley Road near Drayton Road have been lifted.

Borehamwood Times:

These barriers have now been lifted

A spokesperson for the council said: "We have been keeping the measures installed in our shopping areas under regular review, looking at how they are operating, listening to the feedback from businesses and residents and taking into account any changes with the continued easing of lockdown.

"We have been working with Hertsmere officers to establish further revised arrangements which will include the reopening of the service road in front of Iceland and Lloyds Bank.

"A limited amount of short stay parking will be reintroduced on the first section through to Halifax with street scape improvements to the bottom section – planters, benches etc, to enable outside seating and eating areas.

"A similar treatment will be applied to the service road opposite from the Fish and Chip Shop to the Chinese takeaway where parking will remain suspended."

Borehamwood Times:

The service road by the chip shop

Borehamwood Times:

Hertsmere Borough Council leader Morris Bright says his county councillor colleague Susan Brown has had discussions in Shenley Road with county council officers.

Cllr Bright very much understood the reasons behind the county council's measures in May, but he has been in regular discussion with officers about potential changes, especially with identified coronavirus cases in the town now at its lowest levels.

He said: "We must do what we can to make sure our shopping areas are as safe as they can be during the pandemic.

"The county council came up with the plan which they felt would keep us safe. At the time, Hertsmere had highest number of coronavirus deaths in Hertfordshire and it seemed appropriate to support its decisions.

"I do question now some of the logic bearing in mind restrictions have been lifted in parts of Shenley Road which are much narrower than the slip road area near Iceland.

"But I actively encourage people to shop in Borehamwood. I have been. If we don’t use our shops, we will lose more and the town centre will become wasteland and that will be a terrible shame.

"Enjoy what we have but do it safely."

Borehamwood Times:

Cllr Morris Bright

Latest figures from Public Health England show Hertsmere had case rate of 2.9 in the seven days leading up to July 28.

This means three cases were identified in the borough during those seven days.

It is the third lowest rate of Hertfordshire's ten districts and boroughs.

Shoppers can make their visits to town safer by wearing a face covering, keeping their hands clean, and keeping a two metre distance apart from people outside of their household.