A PLEA by businesses on Minshull Street to ‘go continental’ has been won.

Traders asked for monthly closures so people can eat, drink and enjoy entertainment outside.

Shops, bars and restaurants believe this could boost trade and benefit the whole town.

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Phil Roberts, director of Project 53, outlined the proposal to Knutsford town councillors at an events and town centre management committee meeting on Monday evening.

Councillors welcomed the idea and hope to launch two pilot closures on Saturdays in the summer, following further consultation, possibly in August and September.

Phil said: “We’re trying to reinvigorate that end of town.

“Three years ago, when the road was closed because of a water main burst, we used the opportunity to fill the street once a week with tables and chairs and create a continental café.

“All businesses stayed open later and the whole area gained from doing that.

“The alfresco dining experience is great too but we’re wanting to do it on a more regular basis.

Knutsford Guardian: Businesses on Minshull Street are confident outdoor dining will help to boost tradeBusinesses on Minshull Street are confident outdoor dining will help to boost trade (Image: Alunah Mudie)

“We want to generate an entertainment area where people can spend an hour or two and drift into town.

“No loud music till late, we’re not creating a pop concert.

“At Project 53, we’re currently running at 60 per cent income compared to 12 months ago.

“The economy, the war, impending recession and Covid has all impacted our businesses.

“We want to generate more life and energy down that end of town to keep these businesses afloat. Between us we employ an awful lot of people.”

“Everyone is on board and totally behind this.”

It’s not just the hospitality trade that will benefit as some retailers hope to sell items outside.

“The issue we’ve got on Minshull Street is that any traffic up and down can’t stop or park to use the shops,” said Phil.

“The pavements are very narrow and you can’t spill out onto the road for fear of getting run over.

The pavements will be clear at all time during the closures.”

The cost of closing a road is £200 and there is a similar charge for traffic management, councillors were told.

“There is plenty of enthusiasm,” said Phil. “I’m sure we can come up with a solution to share the £200 cost between us.”

Cllr Stewart Gardiner said: “I think it’s a good idea. We should support it.”

Town clerk Adam Keppel-Green informed the committee that closing a road needs two months’ notice.

Councillors voted unanimously in support of the closures.

In future, it is hoped to close Minshull Street to traffic once a month from May to September.