Parts of High Wycombe that were shut off to make way for “weekend cafe culture and alfresco dining” over the summer should be kept that way permanently, a town centre boss has pleaded.

Between April 12 and September 30, part-time road restrictions were in place in the High Street and Pauls Row to support businesses through a crucial period of reopening as lockdown restrictions ease.

It was hoped that Pauls Row would become a “bastion of weekend café culture and alfresco dining” with the main through road closed every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night from 4pm to 9.30pm.

The steady of stream of vehicles were instead replaced with outdoor seating for diners and shoppers to relax at and listen to live musical performances.

HWBIDCo, the organisation that looks after the town centre and its businesses, was behind the exciting plan, and chief executive Melanie Williams said it was a huge success.

Addressing councillors on the High Wycombe town committee, she urged them to keep the road closures in place so more people would be encouraged to visit and enjoy the town centre.

She said: “We used Welcome Back funding to put planters [in Pauls Row] and enforce that.

“The businesses in that area were hugely proactive about extending their pavement licenses and investing in outdoor seating and we invested in a programme of live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

“That was absolutely fantastic and I couldn’t emphasise enough the need for that to continue and for those road closures to become permanent if possible.”

When the plans were first announced, many Bucks Free Press readers were in favour of the temporary road closures.

Adell Coppock said: “Good news for the businesses in town. Weymouth did similar on the harbour last year... working amazingly well.”

Samantha Barratt-Singh said: “They should have done this with the High Street instead of putting restaurants in the Eden Shopping Centre - could’ve been amazing!Great that this is being done now.”

Julie Fuller said it was “about time”.

Businesses in Pauls Row were also fully in favour of transforming the road. Kwong Lin, owner of Noodle Nation, and Pauls Row ‘business resident’ for over 20 years, said the previous “constant stream of traffic” made it “impossible” to enjoy relaxed outdoor dining.

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