Some of St Albans' city centre streets could remain closed to traffic permanently.

Several roads in the city, as well as in other parts of Hertfordshire, have been closed to vehicles since last spring to give greater space for pedestrians to socially distance as well as allow outdoor dining.

To this day, a short section of road by the Clock Tower, known as 'High Street', George Street, and side-streets leading into St Peter's Street have remain shut off to traffic.

While some roads have opened up across the county, Hertfordshire County Council is considering whether to make these closures in St Albans city centre long-term.

Six roads could be shut permanently including the section of High Street currently closed, George Street, Market Place, the currently closed parts of Spencer Street Upper Dagnall Street, as well as Waddington Road.

The county council is carrying out a survey until July 11 collating views from the public and businesses on whether they would like to see the streets remain shut.

St Albans & Harpenden Review: Closure of High Street towards London Road, at the junction with Romeland/George Street. This could stay permanently shutClosure of High Street towards London Road, at the junction with Romeland/George Street. This could stay permanently shut

St Albans District Council has arranged to hold a special meeting of its overview and scrutiny committee after the survey has closed.

Committee chairman Annie Brewster described permanent pedestrianisation of some of the city's streets as a "hugely important issue" for both those living within the city and those who visit.

She says the committee has asked for relevant data from the county council, such as traffic statistics and city centre visitor numbers during the temporary pedestrianisation.

St Albans & Harpenden Review: George Street, which is currently closed to trafficGeorge Street, which is currently closed to traffic

What do businesses think about permanent pedestrianisation?

Shutting off some of St Albans' busiest streets has certainly divided opinion over the last year.

For some, it has given the space desperately needed to accommodate customers safely and made it more welcoming for customers, while others have suffered from lower passing footfall and struggled with receiving deliveries.

In April 2020, a working group was established by Cllr Mandy McNeil, who leads on business for St Albans District Council and the St Albans Business Improvement District (BID), to understand the key issues on both sides of the debate and to build consensus on a possible way forward.

Richard Latham, director of St Albans BID, said: "It’s clear that despite differences of opinion, everyone wants the same for St Albans, an attractive, vibrant city centre with thriving businesses and a healthy visitor economy.

"Whatever your viewpoint, the BID encourages all residents and businesses from our local community to have their say and share their views and opinions by taking part in the survey."

St Albans & Harpenden Review: St Albans High Street closureSt Albans High Street closure

A survey from residents in Heritage Close found the "vast majority" of High Street businesses and all residents support the continued pedestrianisation of the High Street and that reopening the High Street would "negatively impact" their footfall and revenue.

Marina De Sclavis, the owner of Chaos City Comics, in Heritage Close, said: "Importantly there is less pollution which is great for the health of those in the city centre. People are now more relaxed and the pedestrianisation should definitely be kept in place."

Kris Bartos from High Street real estate agents Cassidy and Tate added: "It is much better with pedestrianisation. No more pollution and a great atmosphere with tables and chairs outside. Passing footfall has increased."

St Albans & Harpenden Review: Junction of the High Street, Holywell Hill and London Road. This closure could become permanentJunction of the High Street, Holywell Hill and London Road. This closure could become permanent

But Deryane Tadd, owner of The Dressing Room, said: "The road closures to High Street are having a negative effect on my business. I moved to the High Street location 15 years ago as it was a prime retail location with passing traffic and great visibility on a bustling high street.

"Removing this traffic and replacing it with tables and chairs that are not being used has reduced visibility for my business and there are no plans to reduce our business rates in line with this."

St Albans & Harpenden Review: George Street closure at the junction with Spicer StreetGeorge Street closure at the junction with Spicer Street

Meanwhile, a poll with all 31 businesses in George Street found 23 wanted George Street to stay closed with limited access for deliveries - and only one wanted the road to reopen again.

Businesses and residents can get involved with the county council's survey on the long-term pedestrianisation of some of St Albans' city streets at -