Esther McVey who has repeatedly called for barriers in Knutsford to be removed has said there is “absolutely no reason” for them to remain once social distancing rules are relaxed.
The Tatton MP said the focus needs to be on making the town look welcoming and open for business as customers return to the shops, buy local and support local businesses hit hard by the pandemic.
Cheshire East Council say the barriers are necessary to enforce social distancing given the narrow pavements and said without them people would have to walk in the road to pass others safely.
Ms McVey raised the issue again at a recent meeting with Cheshire East Council Chief Executive Lorraine O’Donnell, calling for assurances that the barriers will go immediately once rules change.
Ms McVey said: “I would prefer to see the barriers removed immediately and have opposed them from the beginning after businesses and shoppers raised concerns with me. The Council are still telling me they are needed to maintain social distancing and will not be coming down until rules change, so I expect to see them gone as soon as social distancing rules are relaxed.
“We need to be encouraging people to shop locally and supporting our businesses but all these barriers do is reduce on street parking and give the impression that Knutsford is closed.”
In a letter to Ms McVey the Council said it was in regular contact with Knutsford Town Council about the need for the barriers and once social distancing rules changed it will “swiftly review the need for the barriers once again.”
Ms McVey added: “There is no need for a review. That will only take time and mean the barriers are in place longer than they need to be. The council’s focus should be turning to supporting the town and its businesses and welcoming back customers as we come out of lockdown.
“Let’s get these barriers down and show Knutsford is open for businesses and everyone is welcome here.”