A COUNCIL is asking businesses for their views on plans to introduce social distancing ahead of an anticipated increase in pedestrians.

Darlington Borough Council is looking at proposals for Duke Street, which it wants to bring in from Saturday, July 4.

Planned changes include a temporary one-way system, with traffic travelling from Stanhope Road roundabout towards the town centre only, a 20mph speed limit, and widening footpaths on the even-numbered side of the street to create space for social distancing.

It is intended to keep parking bays on the odd-numbered side of the road, although some may need to be re-designated for loading.

Council-run car parks will continue to be free and additional disabled parking bays could be introduced on Winston Street.

Councillor Andy Keir, member for local services, said: "We want to understand what measures businesses are putting in place – in particular, the proposals to manage queues outside, so we can consider any amendments to our proposals.

"These are challenging times for all businesses and we recognise that these measures are not what anyone would want, but we must prioritise public health.

"We are committed to working with businesses and listening to their feedback. We will keep these necessary measures under review as Government advice changes, and make changes where it is safe and appropriate to do so."

It is anticipated the number of pedestrians will increase in coming weeks as businesses and education services continue to reopen.

The council has been criticised in recent weeks by businesses in Grange Road, Darlington, over measures imposed there to ensure social distancing.

Comments should be sent to the council by Tuesday.

Businesses are asked to email their comments – with DUKE STREET REPLY in the subject line – to technicalsupport@darlington.gov.uk.