A CONTROVERSIAL road closure is due to expire at the end of next week.

Holyrood Street in Chard was shut to normal traffic when non-essential shops were allowed to reopen.

The road closure was introduced as a safety measure to assist with social distancing guidelines, but immediately came under fire from the shop owners it was supposed to help.

A number of businesses on the road complained of hundreds of customers lost, and profits halving.

Shop owners also complained of having no council contact before the barricade was installed.

After the initial backlash, a spokesman for the county council said: “Somerset County Council and South Somerset District Council, with the support of partners and Chard Town Council, have worked collaboratively to put in place temporary measures to support active travel choices and enable safe social distancing.

“Due to the pace at which these temporary schemes were required to be delivered, we simply have not had the benefit of time to undertake the consultations that would normally be carried out for this type of scheme, although we did try to reach all businesses in advance.

“We recognise we will need to adjust and adapt the scheme as required and all feedback will be considered.

“We do appreciate that these measures do not provide the same access as some motorists are used to, but we are trying our very best to keep shoppers and visitors as safe as possible, while supporting our local businesses to reopen.”

To monitor the feedback from the public, a special Somerset Covid Active Travel website was launched by the county council’s highways authority.

People had to visit somersetcovidactivetravel.commonplace.is to comment.

So far, the scheme has received 31 complaints, and just three people writing in favour of the closure.

And yet, the feedback has had no effect on the scheme. Instead, funding for the road closure is simply set to run out next week.

A spokesman for SCC said: “The Holyrood Street scheme was implemented as a temporary scheme and funding is only available until August 7.

“The measures are likely to be removed after that date.”