Controversial Low Fell social distancing measures that caused outrage among local traders could be removed as early as Monday the authority has confirmed.

Gateshead Council removed on-street parking bays on Durham Road in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus in July last year.

To create more space for pedestrians it installed traffic barriers along the busy high street.

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At the time it said the restrictions, which were rolled out across the borough, were needed to keep shoppers safe and that large sections of footpaths in the area are too narrow to allow for social distancing.

But business owners on the street united against the proposals saying they had caused a massive drop in trade because it deterred motorists from stopping in the area.

These fears where echoed by business people in Winlaton who were impacted by measures making Front Street one way by closing it off to vehicles travelling from west of Branch Street. Barriers were also been put up to stop parking.

At the time they said this was unfair to elderly people who were dependent on taxis and said drivers ignoring one way restrictions were an accident risk.

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The authority has confirmed that the work to remove the Low Fell barriers will start between August 2 and August 5 - more than a year after they were first put in place.

Barriers were also installed at Birtley, Coatsworth Road, Alexandra Road, Jackson Street, High Street, Pelaw, Whickham, Wrekenton.

The council has confirmed that these will be removed by August 16.

A spokeswoman for Gateshead Council urged people to carry on social distancing where possible.

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She added: "We can confirm that all social distancing schemes are being removed and we expect this work to be completed by August 16. However, as the local Covid-19 case rate remains high, we’re asking residents to continue respecting others’ space wherever possible. "