AN EMERGENCY motion has been put forward to call for a town road closure to be maintained.

Eastleigh’s High Street and Market Street have been closed to vehicles since June 2020 to allow for social distancing.

Some businesses have made use of the extra room by placing tables and chairs outside on the unused area.

The temporary traffic order was planned to expire on June 21 when restrictions are eased but now an emergency motion has been put forward calling for authority to be delegated to the borough council to maintain the closures.

The motion which was discussed at a meeting of the Eastleigh Local Area Committee yesterday reads: “I would like to propose an emergency motion calling on Hampshire County Council to support Eastleigh Borough Council by delegating authority to the Borough Council to introduce an Experimental Traffic Order to maintain the road closures and associated changes to support the economic recovery of the town.”

According to the meeting agenda, the motion came after the county council advised Eastleigh Borough Council that pop-up schemes which have been introduced to allow for social distancing should be lifted on June 21.

Now though, MP for Eastleigh, Paul Holmes has said: “Eastleigh Borough Council was very clear that the changes made to the layout of our High Street were due to COVID and social distancing, despite the concerns of local businesses. As restrictions ease, it is right this is reviewed.

“The lack of consultation with businesses in the town centre when these changes were first introduced was highly regrettable. We need to support our local High Streets and I hope that in future, there is much greater collaboration so that we can help our local shops recover.”

Sukhdev Raj, the owner of RJS International Food Store said: “I’m deadly against it. They’ve had a year of closure. Isn’t that experimental enough?

“You need to have shops which are sustainable, and they need passing trade. As soon as the road shut, my income went down nearly 35 per cent.”

Another business owner, Jo Smith from Choices Sandwich Bar said: “EBC need to keep to their word and open the roads, there is plenty of space to social distance.

“It’s a working town with lots of business just on the outskirts of town so people do drive into Eastleigh and need to be able to park up and run into a shop for a minute.

“Businesses are opening their doors up and once again, slowly bringing back their employees from pre pandemic and the ones I’ve spoken to are in shock the town is closed up still.”

The outcome of the meeting on the motion is not yet known as the meeting took place after the Echo went to press.