Pedestrian friendly changes are to be made to a busy street in Hockley to support the emerging café culture in the area.

After a successful experiment at Christmas, access to Broad Street at its junction with Heathcoat Street will be prohibited from 6pm to 6am to provide a safe and open pedestrian space for dining, relaxing and shopping as the warmer months approach, and creating a safer environment for disabled people. These restrictions will come into place from Monday 10 April.

Local businesses have been consulted and have supported the plans to create a larger public space to support their local area. Broad Street has more recently seen an increase in café culture and independent businesses, and also used as semi-public space with free Wi-Fi available to support a mobile workplace.

The changes will give local businesses the opportunity to use the area creatively and the local community the opportunity to be actively involved in the management of their streets.

The changes, in the form of a Prohibition of Driving Order, will be experimental for the first 18 months with the hope it will become permanent. The first six months of this period will be open for objections to the scheme where businesses will be directly consulted, and following this feedback a decision will be made. A bollard will also be installed on Stoney Street to ensure the prohibition order is self-enforcing.

Councillor Nick McDonald, Portfolio Holder for Business, Growth and Transport, said: “These changes will help to support a successful and vibrant area of the city which has built up a reputation for its café culture and our new and independent businesses.

“The trial at Christmas was very successful and created a happy and laid back environment precisely because people felt safe and because of what local businesses had to offer to citizens. We look forward to seeing how this experiment pans out and will, of course, speak to businesses and citizens along the way to make sure it’s working as we hoped.”