Putney Businesses Prepare The New 'Normal'

Town centre recovery plan factoring in social distancing, cleansing and reduced footfall


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It has been two months since businesses in Putney closed their doors due to the coronavirus lockdown. Now planning is underway for a ‘new normal’ as non-essential shops are due to reopen on June 15.

Business Improvement District Positively Putney has been working with their partners including Wandsworth Council on the reopening of Putney town centre in order to create a safe and secure space for people to move freely with confidence and ease. The Government has released a roadmap to recovery. Please see here for further details.

There are three important areas that Positively Putney have been focusing on:

Adapting the public realm
Putney High Street is renown for its narrow pavements and as a result Wandsworth Council had started improvement works before lockdown to widen them. This work has been put on hold as the additional pavement was still not going to be wide enough for social distancing and managing a construction site would be difficult. As such temporary measures have been put in place. They do not look pretty but Positively Putney will be making them look better over the next few months. It does allow pedestrians to socially distance.

Nicola Grant, Director of Positively Putney told this website that they have: "Highlighted pinch points to Wandsworth Council where we think we could benefit from road closures, one way streets and bus stop suspensions. These proposals are being considered."

She continued: " Over the next week we will be installing floor graphics to aid people to keep to the 2 metre distance, and to manage the queues once more businesses reopen. We will be looking to install new signs to remind people about social distancing, about the symptoms of COVID-19 and recommended health messages.

Cleansing routines
The cleaning contractor Community Clean spent March, April and May cleaning street furniture and the entrance to Putney Train Station and will continue to focus on the street furniture rather than their normal pressure washing of the pavements.

Ms Grant said that Positively Putney are are looking at the feasibility of installing hand sanitising stations at entrances to Putney. Businesses will all be providing hand sanitation when entering their premises.

Business Support
Ms Grant said: "We have supported our levy businesses over the last ten weeks, providing assistance with applying for grants, advice on furloughing staff, and a weekly webinar call providing recent Government guidance. Many business are now working through their own risk assessments to make their business safe to reopen. Many have had to adapt their business model to remain sustainable. The businesses will need your support in visiting them when they reopen. Ensuring the recovery of Putney is in your hands as local residents and consumers."

Alex Bearman, Russell Cooke Employment Partner has joined the call to advise businesses on furlough rules, and Metro Bank has joined to discuss loans available.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants are expected to be the last to reopen so restrictions are likely to stay in place throughout the summer. Ms Grant commented: "We understand that the leisure and hospitality sector may need to adapt dramatically to the ‘new normal’ by providing outdoor social spaces. Therefore, we have identified potential areas to Wandsworth Council and are working through space and licensing issues. It should add some required vibrancy to Putney town centre whilst also assisting the businesses to stay viable."

To keep up to date on which businesses are re-opening and when follow Positively Putney on Twitter.

June 2, 2020

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