A BUSINESS leader has called on the council to introduce a trial pedestrianisation of the High Street when an arson-hit building is repaired.

Work is set to begin to repair the roof of 100 High Street, Braintree, which was devastated by the fire in February.

Liz Storey, chairman of Braintree Town Team (pictured below), said the situation presented a “natural opportunity” to try out an idea which has long divided traders.

She said: “The trouble is that you have a mixed retail offering and each of these retailers have a different view on whether they should pedestrianise the High Street.

“But without a proper trial we will still be asking this question in ten years’ time."

The Grade II listed buildings at 100- 102 High Street were badly damaged by an arson attack at the Braintree Emergency Night Shelter (Bens).

A planning application to repair the roof of Grade II listed 100 High Street is set to be decided later this month.

A Braintree Council spokesman added: “The council has received notice from the agents representing 96 High Street (formerly Allen Estates) that repair works are scheduled to begin on August 10 and that there is no current need to close the High Street whilst repairs are being made.

“We do not yet know if repair works to 100/102 High Street will require a road closure, and as such Braintree Council has not entered into any discussions with stakeholders about a trial closure of High Street at this time.”