A report says it would be a 'lost opportunity' to return Broad Street to how it was before the pandemic.
Broad Street should remain closed. That is the conclusion of a report to the Infrastructure Minister.
A project board made up of the government's Head of Transport Tristen Dodd, Chamber of Commerce representative Paul Murphy and the Town Centre Manager, Connor Burgher, was formed in July to consider the ongoing closure of Broad Street.
It controversially shut to vehicles 'temporarily' in May 2020 because of the Covid-19 - though buses have been allowed to use it since May this year.
The board has concluded that traders have adapted to the closure, and it would be a 'lost opportunity' to return Broad Street to the way it was.
"The current arrangements have taken some time to bed in and our general observation is that the way Broad Street is currently operating does not seem to have resulted in insurmountable problems."
It says the goals should be to prioritise pedestrians and make the street more attractive.
"It is clear from our own experience and the feedback from interviews that the current temporary arrangements are confusing to the public. We, therefore, urge the Minister to bring forward interim projects to improve the ‘look and feel’ of Broad Street in 2022 and adopt the Board’s recommendations for activities to be undertaken in 2022 as set out above, to create a timetable for a firm decision on the future of the street in the context of investment in the wider public realm."
A temporary garden was created on Broad Street while it was closed to traffic
It also says the Minister should make decisions about the future use of Broad Street in conjunction with major developments planned for the area by Le Masurier (J1) and the relocation of government offices back to the Cyril Le Marquand site.
Updated plans for J1 - a mix of office and retail space - was approved in January 2021, but it's understood further changes will be published in early 2022.
An artists impression of Le Masurier's J1 development, bridging Broad Street and Commercial Street
"Whilst the Board is not able to discuss the development proposals in detail, we are impressed by the positive response from the owner’s representatives to work with government to maximise the benefit that we can together bring to the site, both during the development period and following completion.
This is an exciting opportunity that will form an important part of longer-term thinking.
A second major development is the relocation of government functions into a new building on the site of Cyril Le Marquand House. The concentration of services in this location enables us to use the development as a springboard for significant enhancements to the immediate public realm and improvements to active travel connectivity through the corridor formed by Broad Street, Charing Cross, York Street and The Parade."