SIR: I must congratulate the city council and county council on the closure of Great Minster Street to traffic at weekends. While this has been triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic we must wonder why it is not already a permanent arrangement.

The simple act of placing a few red signs across the road completely transforms what is potentially the most beautiful part of Winchester. We can now stroll gently along Great Minster Street and enjoy the sound of breeze in the trees, and the ripple of distant conversation in the Cathedral Close and the Square. With birds rather than the constant drone of large diesel cars as a soundtrack, the western front of the cathedral looks even more magnificent. People can truly enjoy their refreshments outside the Old Vine or Three Joes, without having to shout, and with no fear of an accident or frequent car fumes, and all at a safe distance. They can walk along Symonds Street and enjoy the gardens usually cut off by a constant stream of traffic.

I have to ask, though, why these arrangements are restricted to the weekends, and why similar schemes have not been applied elsewhere. Parchment Street, Jewry Street, The Broadway, and the upper part of High Street are obvious candidates for the same treatment, and I can see no good reason why we have to disfigure The Square merely for the sake of ten parked cars.

A return to normal arrangements in Great Minster Street and a failure to introduce further schemes elsewhere would be an act of civic self-destruction and bad for business. We must stop denying the promise of our beautiful city and manage our traffic so we can all enjoy the urban spaces our predecessors have bequeathed us.

Phil Gagg,

St Swithun Street,