QUESTIONS have been raised over controversial measures to allow for social distancing which has caused major congestion around Winchester.

Hampshire County Council narrowed part of Jewry Street and North Walls, and closed off the top end of Hyde Street, to make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to socially distance.

The measure in Jewry Street has been lifted but North Walls is being retained, despite widespread criticism that it is causing congestion.

But now the city council is being questioned over its involvement to tackle the issues caused by the measures.

At a meeting of the full council Cllr Fiona Mather asked cabinet member for service quality and transformation Martin Tod how the authority is working with the county council to overcome the problems.

Cllr Mather particularly raised concerns about the impact the measures are having on elderly people.

She said: “They don't all have blue badges, some of them travel in buses and some of them they will drive or get dropped off in convenient places and at the moment I am getting complaints from elderly in my ward who asked me to take up their issue and say what great difficulty they are having taking a bus into the bus station in order to change to another bus because the buses can't keep their timetables and how difficult it is for them to get dropped off with streets being closed at weekends which I know some people are in favour of but there is part of the population it causes great inconvenience to.”

Since the measures were introduced changes have been made, and Cllr Tod said that residents views are listened to to make changes if need.

He added: “For example the original design for The Square scheme was causing some people access difficulties. It is the case with the measures as they are there is quite literally nowhere in Winchester where you used to be able to drive to that you can not drive to now.

“The routes may be different but in terms of being able to drive to particular locations I am not aware of any streets that it used to be possible to drive to which it is no longer possible to drive to."

He continued: "[We've] also been having conversations about potential further measures that could be used to enable the system to flow more freely whilst still recognising the importance of social distancing and the importance of encouraging and enabling more sustainable forms of transport.”