BARRIERS installed outside shops to extend the pavement in place of parking spots have been removed after pressure from residents and businesses.

Essex Highways installed the temporary orange barriers along North Station Road a month ago in a bid to improve social distancing arrangements as part of its Safer, Greener, Healthier initiative.

But residents and business owners hit out at the constructions, calling them unsightly and saying they replaced much-needed parking spaces.

Colchester’s High Steward Sir Bob Russell, who has lived in the area for more than 50 years, distributed a questionnaire among the small traders in the area to collate their views.

He said businesses told him the communication from Essex County Council had been “woeful”.

He said: “I was so appalled at what has happened, I did what I did many years ago when I was a councillor and did what councillors used to – get out and ask people, in this case local businesses.

“I have put some effort into trying to provide a common-sense resolution to what is a visual outrage in North Station Road, a conservation area, which is promoted as one for public safety.

“The opposite is the case. It has created road safety issues and damaged the financial viability of two dozen small businesses: convenience stores, other shops and takeaways.”

In response to Sir Bob’s questionnaire firms are looking at creating a North Station Road Businesses Association.

The barriers in place of the parking spaces along North Station Road have been removed following feedback.

A spokesperson for County Hall said: “Essex Highways is constantly seeking the views of local residents and businesses about the measures put in place in Colchester. The reason we put in these measures is for public safety and to help businesses, to give pedestrians space to visit their business while safely observing social distancing to stop the spread of Covid-19. We want to help business and the community recover from the lockdown.

“We have listened and we will be removing the barriers from the parking spaces on North Station Road where the width of the pavement still permits the ability to enable and support social distancing.

“This is in response to the views of business, councillors and members of the public who have commented on this.”