A TOWN centre road closure could continue for an extra eight months as Covid-19 cases remain high.
On June 15, 2020, Eastleigh Borough Council took the decision to close Market Street and High Street to vehicles.
This was said to be to allow for safe social distancing for shoppers, and the closures were originally planned to be in place until April 2021.
Now though, councillors are considering whether they should keep the roads shut for an extra eight months until December 15.
When the road closures were originally agreed last year, a group of business owners and residents came together to form the Eastleigh Town Centre Action Group (ETCAG).
The group created a petition against the closures, calling for further consultation with businesses to find a solution as their finances were said to be suffering as a result.
Sukhdev Raj, owner of RJS International Food Store and Treasurer of ETCAG, said: “I’m quite passionate about the road closure because we weren’t originally consulted over it.
“For them to consider keeping it closed now, of all times, is really unnecessary.
“It should be the opposite so people can social distance by not having to park in central car parks.”
If the road closure is extended, then by December it will have been in place for a total of 18 months.
MP For Eastleigh, Paul Holmes, claimed he is “very nervous” about the extension.
He said: “Our businesses are struggling enough with the problems posed by COVID and making it harder to access our high street will harm local businesses.
“Lib Dem Eastleigh Borough Council needs to go back to the drawing board and work with local businesses to regenerate our High Street.”
The proposal to extend the closure is set to be discussed at a meeting of the Eastleigh Local Area Committee today.
Chair of the committee, Councillor Tina Campbell, previously said: “The safety of local residents, shoppers and visitors to the town centre is paramount.
“The continued closure of the roads together with other social distancing measures in our town will help to create a safe trading environment