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Alfresco summer invitation for traders

Shrewsbury traders are being encouraged to join the town’s “alfresco summer” with roads being free of traffic at weekends. 

Shrewsbury’s cafe culture flourished last year as people enjoyed a more pedestrian-friendly town centre, and businesses have the opportunity to repeat the experience with the scheme continuing on weekends throughout the summer. 

Wyle Cop (uphill), High Street, Milk Street, The Square and Shoplatch are all closed to through-traffic from 10am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, meaning bars, cafes and restaurants can make use of the extra space by serving customers outside. 

Businesses need a pavement licence to trade outside their premises, and Stephanie Mansell-Jones, business liaison at Shrewsbury BID, advised business owners to apply sooner rather than later. 

She said: “Shropshire Council is making the application process as easy as possible, but it’s important to get your application submitted in good time to ensure you have the necessary permissions in place. Everything can be completed on the Shropshire Council website, but if anyone has any questions, please get in touch with the team at Shrewsbury BID and we can talk you through any issues.” 

Melody Facchin, of Ginger and Co coffee shop in The Square, said removing through-traffic from The Square, which runs in front of the shop, had made a huge difference. 

He said: “Being a small coffee shop with limited covers and always busy, outside seating in simple terms has helped us serve more customers over the summer months without disappointing some because we're at full capacity. 

“It's a lovely dynamic to have outside seating options around town, both from a customer and business viewpoint. There's nothing better than having a full coffee shop and looking outside seeing customers enjoying their coffee in the sunshine in The Square as an extension of our business.” 

Carol Grant, owner of Carol Grant fashion shop in The Square, said: “The reduction in traffic at weekends makes the whole atmosphere so much more relaxed, which encourages people to slow down and spend more time in the town centre. 

“We have noticed that people are browsing for longer, and customers have told us they love the feel of the town at weekends. We are really looking forward to another great summer in our wonderful town.”