Malmesbury High Street

Malmesbury High Street is Re-Opening! Questions & Answers.

High Street Changes Q and A

There have been a lot of changes made in Malmesbury High Street and surrounding areas in the last few days so we can keep shopping and visiting Malmesbury safe and welcoming while we have to follow social distancing. Here are answers to the most frequent questions Malmesbury Town Team and Malmesbury Town Council have received.

Malmesbury High Street Q and A Updates

I have been following and contributing to the public discussions about the changes made in the High Street in response to the requirement to maintain social distancing during the COVID 19 emergency. I have also invited residents to address questions about these changes directly to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . In the meantime, I have asked that we add the following Question’s and Answer’s to the Question’s and Answer’s we published when the changes started.

Campbell Ritchie


Malmesbury Town Council

2nd July 2020  

Q. Nowhere else has made these changes!

Towns in similar situations who are committed to the safety of residents and visitors have or are making similar changes. In Wiltshire this includes Bradford on Avon, Devises, and Marlborough. In Gloucestershire sites are being trialled in Gloucester, Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Bourton before further roll out around the county. A google search ‘social distancing in towns’ or similar will show dozens of other examples across the country.

It is important to compare like with like. The changes in Malmesbury are in an area where we have lots of small independent shops and hospitality businesses and very narrow pavements. Many of these businesses have to limit the number of people inside to operate safely so they have told us they need queue points outside. There is just not enough room on the pavements to allow people to queue and for people to pass and maintain 1m plus distancing

Q. These changes are simply not needed!

We understand the frustration of some residents but any criticism that does not address this fundamental point is missing why the changes have been made. We are working ourselves through a public health emergency. 

Q. The one-way elements are pointless!

The one-way elements have been put in place with the opening of cafes, pubs and restaurants in mind as well as the extra traffic created by the additional shops that opened on 15th June.Parking in the

Q. Cross Hayes car park should be free.

Of course everyone would like the parking in Cross Hayes to be free but charging decisions are made by Wiltshire Council. Malmesbury Town Council has requested that parking in Cross Hayes is free to support the High Street as it starts to reopen, but this approach has been rejected by Wiltshire Council. We will continue to press this case and residents are welcome to express their views to Wiltshire Council as well.

Q: The new double yellow lines in the Upper High Street look permanent – will they be removed?

The yellow lines are required to give legal effect to the temporary no parking restrictions on the High Street. Like all the COVID 19 changes they are temporary. They will be removed when the social distancing restrictions are no longer required.

Q: Do we have to have the red COVID 19 signs; they look horrible and make us look like we are infected!

The red COVID 19 social distancing signs have been mandated by the government and installed by Wiltshire Council highways department as part of the changes to road and pavement layout. They aren’t signs we would have chosen. When things have settled we will have a discussion with Wiltshire Council highways department to see if we can reduce the number of red signs.

Q. it would have been better if you had consulted the retailers before making the changes

Malmesbury Town Team and Malmesbury Town Council are working closely together and have been holding fortnightly meetings with local retailers and businesses since the COVID 19 emergency struck. We have consulted with retailers, other businesses and community groups before making these changes. We have also worked closely with Wiltshire Council and the guidance provided for historical towns by Heritage England. We are continuing a close dialogue with retailers and businesses as we go forward.

Q. The changes will kill the High Street

The changes are the temporary loss of 28 free short-term car parking spaces in return for wider pavements to enable residents and visitors to shop safely in accordance with social distancing requirements to prevent further COVI19 infection. No-one likes the loss of convenience but government guidelines during this continuing international health emergency are clear – we must maintain social distancing to keep residents and visitors safe.  

Residents and visitors who have relied on free parking on the Upper High Street must, of course, make their own decisions about whether they will make small adjustments during this health emergency to make use of and support our local shops or businesses, or spend more time and money to drive miles to go elsewhere or do more shopping on-line. But the early feedback from our retailers is that with the exception of the High Street Co-Op, where some trade has understandably moved to the Gloucester Road Co-Op, trade is better than expected and, where comparisons can be made, at least as good as elsewhere. We are still at the point where many shops are operating reduced hours and the hospitality providers – which generate a high proportion of visits into Malmesbury - have not re-opened yet. The wider pavements are also giving residents and visitors a chance to make use of the extra space to take a little more time to look at our fantastic local businesses in a new light. There is little or nothing that can’t be bought in Malmesbury. We can all make choices but there are so many good reasons to shop local.  

None of us living in and around Malmesbury have experienced anything like the continuing COVID 19 emergency. The reality is that the combination of our historic narrow pavements and our fantastic independent shops, cafes and pubs, which have to limit the number of people they can let inside at any one time, means we have to widen some pavements to give residents and visitors the best chance to stay safe. The requirement is the same at 1metre plus as at 2metres social distancing. Unfortunately social distancing looks like it is going to be with us for months to come to help prevent the spread of infection. But we are listening and want to do the best we can.

Q: Why have you made these changes to the High Street and Oxford Street?

A: Government Covid-19 regulations require that the High Street and neighbouring areas are safe for shoppers and visitors and meet the Government social distancing requirements. We have made the changes because our narrow High Street pavements flanked by parked cars combined with the need for shops and businesses to limit numbers inside premises and have room for queues on the pavements did not meet these requirements.

Q: Why have we stopped parking in the High Street here? 

A: It was the only way to increase the space for pedestrians so everyone can use the High Street in accordance and keep to the Government’s safe social distancing requirements. The Cross Hayes car park is very close and there is 2 hours free parking in the Station Yard car park. Short term on street parking in Market Cross, outside the Abbey/ Old Bell and the Triangle has not been changed.  

Q:  Are these changes permanent or temporary?

They are temporary and will last for as long as the Government requires us to maintain social distancing.

Q: The changes look awful!

Some of the changes do look stark. The changes are a very quick response in accordance with Government requirements made with the support of Wiltshire Council to the COVID 19 health emergency with the intent to keep people safe while enabling our local businesses to open in accordance with government guidelines. The red signage is stipulated by government and Wiltshire Council. The other signage has been developed and installed by Malmesbury Town Team and Malmesbury Town Council.

Q:  Is the one way system for pedestrians compulsory?

It is intended to help. It is for each individual to act in accordance with the government’s social distancing guidelines. We expect it to be self-managing.

Q:  Where can I cross the High Street?

Wherever you like if you consider it safe to do so. We have also had mobility ramps installed along either side of the High Street to help those with mobility problems to move easily from the new road walkway to the pavement.

Q:  Where can we park now?

The best places to park are the Cross Hayes car park and the Station Yard car park. The first two hours parking at the Station Yard car park is free.

Q:  I am disabled. Where can I park?

There are two blue badge bays on the Lower High Street, four in the Cross Hayes and a new blue badge area in the Market Cross (on the right hand side in place of the taxi rank). Blue badge holders parking in a disabled bay can park there for a maximum of 3 hrs, holders may also park in any other space in the Cross Hayes car park free of charge with a maximum limit of 23 hrs.

Q:  I have a mobility scooter – where can I drive it and park it?

You can use your scooter just as you have always done - you just have less parked cars to navigate around. If you have to park your mobility scooter then, as usual, please park it in a suitable location. The best places will be just inside the coned new pavement areas.

Q:  When will there be public toilets open?

The new public toilets by the Town Hall in Cross Hayes are expected to be open in early July. They are being fitted out to be as contactless as possible.

Q:  I will need some help when I am in the High Street

While the new arrangements settle down volunteers – the #AskMe team - will be on hand again this week in the High Street at the busiest times to answer questions and provide help where possible. Look out for them in their maroon bibs from 10:00am to 2:00pm.

Q:  Who do I talk to if I have questions before I set off to the High Street?

If you would like help because the essential changes to the High Street have made using the High Street harder for you, or if you are not able to do your own shopping and would like help, then please do call the Malmesbury Town Council and Heals Partnership on 01666815888 and we will put you in touch with a volunteer to find out more about what we can do to assist you. You can also email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Q:  Where can I park (leave) my cycle safely?

There are cycle racks by the Town Hall (near the old toilets at the corner of Cross Hayes and Oxford Street). Parking your bike by the back wall in Birdcage Walk is also a good idea. We are working on getting some temporary bike racks installed at a couple of locations if we can.

Q. Where can I buy and spend the Malmesbury Gift Card?

You can buy the Malmesbury Gift Card from The Wild Food Company and French Grey plus the Tourist Information Centre when it reopens and online at . Over 34 shops and businesses accept the card, they are listed on .

Q:  Where can I have a picnic?

We have a great open space – Cloister Gardens - behind the Abbey. You will be welcome to enjoy a picnic there. Or the parks at the bottom of the High Street (St Aldhelm’s Mead) are great places for a picnic.

Q:  Where can I make any suggestions or ask more questions?

Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We would welcome feedback on how the changes are working and we want to do as well as we can in all the circumstances.

Please let us know about any other questions – we can add to this list!

We hope you enjoy your visit to Malmesbury. Above all, Stay safe.


Latest News from Wiltshire Council 

Minor Injury Units in Chippenham and Trowbridge to temporarily close as part of COVID-19 response 

The Minor Injury Units (MIUs) at Chippenham Community Hospital and Trowbridge Community Hospital will close temporarily from 5pm on Wednesday 8 April 2020 so that staff can be redeployed across the local health and care system to provide vital additional capacity.

Both MIUs have seen a significant drop in patient numbers since the start of the COVID-19 crisis as local people increasingly follow self-care advice and seek help from the online 111 service.  The closures of these MIUs have been put in place as a temporary measure and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis with a view to reopening the units as soon as it is feasible and sustainable to do so.

The NHS and its partners across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire continue to work together to ensure the services provided have the resources and resilience they need to deal with the problems posed by COVID-19.

Patients with minor injuries should visit the NHS 111 online service. This will provide advice on where to go for the best care for their symptoms. People should only phone 111 if they cannot access the 111 online service.

Those patients who feel that they need a GP appointment should call their local GP practice and are likely to be offered a phone or video consultation in the first instance, unless a face-to-face appointment is absolutely necessary.  As per NHS guidance no-one with COVID-19 symptoms should attend any medical setting unless explicitly directed to do by the NHS 111 service or a 999 call operator.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) appeal

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is vital to help protect our frontline workers, allowing them to continue delivering critical services in the community, whilst also limiting the spread of COVID-19.

With high demand for PPE across the nation, Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire Police have launched a joint appeal for support from local PPE suppliers or any businesses that have stock which could be used.

We are asking local businesses for any support that they might be able to kindly provide with supplies of PPE as a short-term measure whilst national supply chains work hard to catch up with demand. This will help allow our staff and our colleagues in Wiltshire Police to continue to support our most vulnerable residents and ensure we can deliver critical services across the county at this challenging time.

The key items required are water repellent disposable surgical face masks, non-latex gloves, disposable plastic aprons and hand sanitizer (minimum 60% alcohol content).

If you know of any local businesses that can help with the supply of PPE please ask them to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line PPE support.

Wiltshire wellbeing hub

Our Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub, which is available via email and phone, has been working hard to provide support for our county’s most vulnerable residents. Our teams continue to make daily calls to people identified by central government to see if these individuals require support and we have also received 781 calls to our designated hotline from other members of the community requiring assistance.

This virtual hub can be contacted by email; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling our designated hotline, 0300 003 4576.  It’s available from 8am-8pm Monday-Friday and 10am-4pm Saturday and Sunday.

Hundreds of food parcels are being delivered across Wiltshire to help older people and families who need additional help at this time.

We’re asking Wiltshire children to make them additionally special by creating a lovely rainbow picture, with a personal message if they wish, which can be attached to the outside of the parcel as they are sent out.

Please encourage children to send pictures to: Five Rivers Health and Wellbeing Centre, Hulse Road, Salisbury SP1 3NR.

Business Support

We are administering the £10,000 grant for businesses in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or rural rates relief. We are also administering the £10,000 grant for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000 and for those businesses with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 a grant of £25,000.

Over 4,400 applications have now been received and are currently being assessed. Of these applications, 50% contain all the necessary information for the grant to be processed fairly quickly. The remainder require further assessment or due diligence resulting in a delay in processing the claim. Further messaging will be issued through the communications channels to remind businesses to provide all the information in order that they receive this vital funding as soon as possible.

So far we have transferred £5m to local businesses with further grants being issued today.

Our Public Protection team have received 59 complaints from members of the public, mainly about social distancing measures in place in those businesses that remain open with a few relating to businesses operating when it’s perceived they should be closed.

The team have also received 23 enquiries from businesses direct seeking further advice.

Interactive map to help you find local COVID-19 support

The Council has created an online interactive map that allows people to see what COVID-19 community support is available in their neighbourhood and throughout the county.

The map, which will be regularly updated, can be found at and people simply have to type in their town/village/city name or a postcode in a search box and the system will automatically take them to that location and highlight the support available in that area, which will be marked by red stars. Clicking on the red stars will bring up information about the groups, including their contact details and a summary of the type of support and services they are providing.

The information on the mapping system can also be found in the Council’s regularly updated Community Groups Directory.

This system complements our Community Groups Directory and allows people to find out about the local support available with just a few clicks.

Government WhatsApp service

The government has launched a GOV.UK Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp. The new, free to use, service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19), and will further reduce the burden on NHS services.

This will help combat the spread of coronavirus misinformation in the UK, as well as helping ensure people stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

The GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service is an automated ‘chatbot’ service which will allow members of the public to get answers to the most common questions about coronavirus direct from government. The service will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting.

The service will also allow the government to send messages to all opted-in users if required.

To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.  Please share this information with your communities.



Cllr Philip Whitehead


Local stories in and around the Malmesbury area to keep you up-to-date.


A wonderful place to visit with a wealth of attractions right on the doorstep.


Malmesbury is a beautiful town to visit in its own right and attractions include the jewel in our crown being Malmesbury Abbey, the fabulous Abbey House Gardens, and Malmesbury’s 15th century Market Cross.

For more than two and a half millennia successive generations have populated this hilltop, which forms the centre of the community we now call Malmesbury.


Town Hall, Cross Hayes, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 9BZ

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