Bus ban vision to boost Belper’s town centre

Belper, King Street
Belper, King Street

A scheme to fully pedestrianise part of King Street could be back - in a bid to improve disabled access and boost the area for shoppers.

At a meeting last week, members of Belper Town Council raised concerns about shop displays spilling onto the pavement and restricting access for disabled people in particular.

Councillors have now decided to contact Derbyshire County Council to find out what would need to be done to make the change - and they want to know if members of the public would back the idea.

Belper Mayor Dan Booth said the discussions focussed on the idea of pedestrianising the centre of King Street, which is currently only open to buses.

Cllr Booth said: “I want to make it very clear that these were just very general discussions, and nothing has been decided.

“The concern was raised about some of the trading on King Street, where displays are spilling onto the pavement. At some points, this is making it difficult for disabled people, mother’s with prams, and so on, to pass safely and easily along the pavement.

“We don’t want to discourage businesses in the high street and we don’t want to deter disabled people, or parents with prams, from coming either.

“It’s only an idea, which might not even be feasible. But we’re interested to find out more.”

Cllr Booth said, if the area was closed to traffic, it would pave the way for more ambitious events and attractions: “We already have buskers and such there, but if it was fully pedestrianised, we could have markets there, gazebos, bigger events. Shopkeepers would have more space to put displays out.”

It was suggested that buses which stop at the middle of King Street would collect people from the bottom of the street if the changes were introduced.

He added: “At this stage, it’s possible that the county council will not allow this, and it is possible that people won’t want the change. It’s an early discussion, and people can get involved.”