SHAFTESBURY'S High Street will remain a car-free zone next month in a bid to maintain social distancing and keep shoppers safe.

Since June 15 the area between Angel Square and The Grosvenor Arms has been void of traffic between 9am and 4pm every day.

Dorset Council and Shaftesbury Town Council have now announced this will also be the case for September, except for Sundays which will no longer be included in the scheme.

Councillor Ray Bryan, portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment, said this decision was "based on the priority of keeping the Shaftesbury High Street safe for shoppers".

He added: “The coronavirus infection rate in Dorset has so far remained low and the highway measures put in place in our busiest high street areas has played its part in keeping residents and visitors safe."

Delivery drivers are still permitted along High Street and the X2 bus service has launched, permitted to travel one-way only down the road and limited to 5mph.

Further discussions are being held in relation to other bus services and taxis.

Cllr Bryan added: "As the season changes it is expected the footfall in the town centre is likely to be less in the autumn.

"A further review will be undertaken mid-September to understand impact of less pedestrians and to assess the options of potentially removing or reducing the hours of restricted vehicular access."

Similar measures in Cheap Street in Sherborne will remain in place, as will additional pedestrian spaces in Wimborne and Blandford.