Council advises businesses to keep pavements clear

Published: Friday, 12th June 2020

Pavements and other pedestrian areas are to be kept free of goods and advertising, to ensure there is as much space as possible to support social distancing and queuing when businesses reopen.

With most retailers being able to trade from Monday 15 June 2020, Birmingham City Council is advising retail businesses to ensure that they do not display goods or advertising in front of their shops.

It is an offence to place things on areas of public highway without permission from the Highway Authority, however the council is concerned that it may also hinder safe queuing and other social distancing measures. 

The council has identified key prioritisation areas where such hazardous activities may be occurring. Representatives from Kier are also out speaking to traders and asking for their cooperation in removing all unauthorised items from the highway immediately.

If traders deposit items on the highway such as to constitute a ‘danger’ then the Highway Authority is empowered to remove the items without notice, and to recover its costs in doing so.

Councillor Waseem Zaffar MBE, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council said: “We are asking for retailers’ cooperation in keeping pedestrian areas clear, but to also understand that we may have to take action to remove goods where necessary.

“Keeping pavements clear will maximise the available space to queue and for social distancing. Partners from Kier will be monitoring key streets across the city and requesting the removal of any unauthorised items before they constitute a danger. If this request is not complied with then enforcement action may be taken.  

“We appreciate that businesses are keen to reopen but it is key to remember that we must all still do what we can to keep ourselves and communities safe.”

The council has provided further information to businesses in these areas, asking for their cooperation, and advising how they can help to achieve social distancing by their customers.

Eddie Fellows, Highway Network Director at Kier, added: “We are currently visiting priority areas and would like thank traders for their cooperative response.

Our Highway Stewards are there to help traders who wish to comply but will ask the Council to take enforcement action where they fail to comply. We do not want to take possession of traders’ property but are ready to do so in the interests of public safety.”

In usual times, businesses must always ensure that they contact their local authority for permission to use highway space. However, whilst the pandemic is still a risk to public safety, Birmingham City Council has taken a decision not to approve the use of pavements by businesses, that are required for public social distancing. 

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