TRADERS are calling for barriers erected in Cockermouth town centre to improve social distancing to be removed.

The changes made to Station Street are no longer needed and are hampering trade, they say.

Some people would like to see the pavement widened permanently, says county councillor Rebecca Hanson.

Andrew Marshall, chairman of the town's chamber of trade and owner of Strolling4Shoes, said: "The traders want them removed, they feel it's affecting their trade. It looks a mess because the barriers get moved and knocked.

"They were put there to facilitate queues outside shops but this is no longer an issue and people are wearing face coverings.

"They have been a good thing but now is the time to bring the street back to normal. It's very difficult times and they cause problems with deliveries and loading."

Councillor Hanson said: "All residents and retailers should be assured that great attention is being paid to this issue. There are now weekly meetings with county and Allerdale officers, town, Allerdale and county councillors and Cockermouth Chamber of Trade to review the situation.

"In this week’s meeting senior officers laid out safety criteria associated with social distancing which must be met if barriers are to be removed. Survey work is being carried out to find out whether those criteria are being met or not."

She added: "Some individuals have been choosing to knock the barriers over. This is simply polarising the debate as it pushes some to want a permanent wider pavement and others to want the barriers removed."