COMMUNITY leaders have backed calls for a town centre road closure to be maintained.

On Tuesday, an emergency motion was put forward at a meeting of Eastleigh Local Area Committee (ELAC) to maintain the pedestrianisation of Eastleigh town centre.

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

But now calls have been made for the highways authority, Hampshire County Council, to delegate power to the borough council to carry out an experimental traffic order past the easing of restrictions on June 21.

The motion which was discussed at a meeting 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.”

The motion was unanimously supported by councillors at the meeting and will now be put to Hampshire County Council to request permission to carry out the experimental traffic oder.

The chair of ELAC, Councillor Alex Bourne, said: “This is not a proper pedestrianisation, we’ve just shut the roads off because of Covid. We were looking to put in an experimental traffic order to keep the roads shut but also to do a proper consultation.”

Councillor Bourne explained that the county council had carried out a consultation on the closure, but that the results would not be made available until July 29.

He added: “The motion was a plea really to Hampshire County Council to listen. We’re Eastleigh councillors, it’s our town and we have a lot of feedback from residents saying that they love having the roads closed.

“Hampshire delegate powers to close roads and they’ve told us they are not supporting us on this. So I introduced the motion for Hampshire to reconsider and to give us the power to do an experimental traffic order.”

Some businesses spoke out about their concern before the meeting regarding the negative affect the closure is having on their trade.