Parking changes to make Royston High Street a friendlier space for walking, wheeling and cycling are to be made permanent.

The alterations have led to less traffic circulating for short-stay parking, with less pavement space taken up by parked cars and vans.

Footfall data - which monitors how many people go to the area - shows that this has led to more people visiting the town centre than before the pandemic, and that they are spending more time there on all days except Sundays.

Analysis from the Healthy Streets programme also shows that the environment in the High Street has improved.

The High Street Recovery Project was introduced to Royston in the summer of 2020 to allow more space for social distancing during COVID-19, and to encourage people to return to the town centre after the pandemic.

Cllr Phil Bibby, executive member for highways and transport at Hertfordshire County Council, said: "Although we originally introduced these measures to help during the pandemic, the friendlier and safer environment they’ve created in Royston High Street has helped increase the number of people visiting the town centre to above pre-pandemic levels.

"We know that changing parking bays is often unpopular, but we have also considered that Royston’s free parking after 3pm scheme is available for those who choose to drive to town. We have also increased Blue Badge parking provision.

"Royston’s innovative businesses are clearly doing great things to encourage people back to the town centre. It is essential that we support these efforts by investing in high quality, people-friendly streets and spaces.


"By making these measures permanent, we will create a much safer and more attractive environment.

"It is important that we all do our bit to address the climate emergency and improve air quality in Royston, as well as supporting local businesses wherever possible."

Herts County Council now intends to make the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order permanent, with some amendments to loading arrangements.

Following consultation feedback, the council hopes to replace the planters with bollards and widen some pavements.

Along with North Herts Council, the council is investigating further opportunities to improve Royston town centre.