Bridgnorth Sunday Handmade Market re-opened on 2nd August after a gap of nearly 4 months. The market is held underneath Bridgnorth Town Hall and safety precautions are in place – usual opening hours are 10 a.m to 4 p.m.
Bridgnorth’s landmark Cliff Railway has reintroduced a daily service from 1st August. The railway runs between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. with frequent departures. As Covid 19 safety precautions face coverings must be worn and seating capacity has been reduced.
Coronavirus has changed the face of shopping. Shops in Bridgnorth have been working hard to adapt to new safety requirements. Changes have been made to the Town’s Saturday outdoor market in the High Street too.
The move follows the government giving councils new powers to protect public health. Shropshire Council has closed the High Street to all traffic at peak periods on Saturdays so there’s more space for shoppers to spread out. The changes were made at the end of July. The full road closure is a temporary measure and is expected to last for 3 to 4 weekends.
Stopping the traffic has enabled the market layout to be altered to give more circulation space. Stalls which are normally set up on the footpath have been moved into the roadway. It has also enabled stalls to be moved further away from the pavement or turned around.
Bridgnorth Town councillor David Cooper said:
“Bridgnorth’s Saturday market is very popular, especially in the Summer. Initial feedback is that the atmosphere is more relaxed and welcoming. There are some drawbacks but it does feel as if Bridgnorth is safe and open for business!”
The former Bridgnorth District Council offices at Westgate in Bridgnorth have been an eyesore since Shropshire Council stopped using them in 2014.
Attempts by a local community group to retain the buildings were turned down, with the Council making it clear that it was looking to generate funds from the sale of the site to use for other purposes. The Council applied for outline planning permission to develop housing on the site, and looked for a buyer.
Following an unsuccessful attempt to combine the site with that of the Police Station next door, Shropshire Council finally reached agreement to sell it to South Staffordshire Housing Association. Plans to demolish the existing buildings and build houses have now been submitted to Shropshire Council.
Bridgnorth Town councillor David Cooper said: ‘Although local residents may have hoped that this would mean a development to meet the local need for smaller homes and affordable housing, it appears that the price sought by Shropshire Council meant that only a “for profit” development is viable. The proposal is that the standard 20% of the homes on the site would be affordable and the remainder for open market sale. It’s intended to build 31 houses – but just 3 of them would be 2 bedroomed with the rest being 3, 4 or 5 bedroomed.’
The Planning Statement included with the application says that: “Whilst the Site was available for purchase by any housing developer to deliver a policy compliant scheme, this scheme has the benefit of being delivered by a registered provider. As such, all the sales proceeds generated from the open market properties will be used to cross subsidise the providers affordable housing programme in Shropshire.”
The proposals have met with a mixed response from local residents and Bridgnorth Town Council have expressed concerns about the proposed site layout and impact on local traffic. The planning application reference is 20/02056/FUL and the plans can be viewed, and comments submitted, here.