TRADERS have given mixed reaction to the news that a Southampton road which has been closed to traffic is set to reopen.

The Conservatives have said they plan to reopen Bedford Place just days after taking the city council helm in the local elections.

The closure proved controversial when implemented by the Labour council last August, to promote a more vibrant area when firms could host more punters following new social-distancing rules.

Despite the plans to reopen the road, the Tories say they will keep neighbouring Carlton Place closed.

The move has been welcomed by a number of local traders, while others said they like the pedestrianisation of the area.

As previously reported, some shop owners called on the council to reopen the road as they said they lost the passing trade.

Angela Everett, owner of Trevor Mitchell hairdresser, said the move would be “a good compromise”.

She said she lost business because of the road closure and added: “We have lost the passing trade, people have just avoided the area. We have been here since 1986 and suddenly we were just cut off from the main city.”

Rachel House, manager at All Beauty, said she hopes Bedford Place will be reopened.

Talking about the plans to reopen the road Simon Beer,  the owner of Bridge Gallery, said: “Common sense has come back. Small businesses have been hurt by the closure. Once you open up these arteries we can get that passing trade again.”

He said he would also be happy with a road closure from 6pm to midnight.

But Ashley Delong, owner of Retro cafe, said she does not think reopening Bedford Place is a good idea. She said being  able to have outdoor seating has been the only way to reopen her business over the past months.

She added: “I like how it is at the moment. I think it should stay. Without that we would have not been able to open.”

Caroline French, managing director of W J French & Son, said: “We are happy to go with the view of what the majority of retailers decide. 

"However, it is hard to separate if trade has been down due to the effects of Covid-19 or the reduction in passing traffic. 

"Ideally it would be great to have the pedestrianised area in Bedford Place continue throughout the summer months, as the scheme hasn’t really had a chance to fulfil its potential due to the lockdowns.”

GO!Southampton declined to comment on the news.