Decorative planters are set to replace the red and white barriers in villages and town centres that have been installed to ensure social distancing.

Earlier this year the county council put-in a series of measures designed to keep shoppers two metres apart on high streets – and to make sure they had space to queue safely outside shops and banks.

For the most part these changes have been marked cut with the use of large red and white barriers.

But within two weeks work will begin to replace then with decorative planters – so long as local district, town or parish councils have agreed to maintain them.

At a meeting of the county council’s highways and the environment cabinet panel on Wednesday (September 16), councillors were told the planters were expected to remain in place until the spring – at the earliest.

But where there is a will for them to stay, it was said, they may remain in the longer term.

However the high street in Ware – where the changes were met with considerable opposition – will not get the planters.

This is because it has already been agreed that the changes will be reversed as soon as it is safe to do so.

As part of the update on the high street measures, it was reported that in Ware the direction of the one-way system had been reversed since the initial scheme was installed – and in Welwyn two-way traffic had been reinstated.

Executive member for highways and the environment Cllr Phil Bibby stressed the hard work and dedication shown by the county council’s highways team in implementing the social distancing measures.

And head of highways implementation strategy Rupert Thacker told the meeting that some of te abuse encountered by staff putting in the barriers had been “considerable”.

Meanwhile it was also reported to the meeting that the council has submitted a £6.8m bid to the Department of Transport’s Active Travel 2nd Tranche, for six schemes across the county to encourage cycling and walking.