Widening pavements for social distancing will be “eye-wateringly expensive” and Bath and North East Somerset may only get £600,000 from Government to pay for it.
The council has drawn up a list of streets that could be altered but faces a £50million deficit so leader Dine Romero is wary of raising expectations.
Under plans unveiled last week, some streets will have their pavements widened, while others could see access restricted or on-street parking removed.
The Government has announced £2billion in funding for walking and cycling but it remains unclear how much Bath and North East Somerset Council will receive.
Deputy leader Richard Samuel said: “There’s a practical problem. If you’re widening a pavement you have to put robust barriers in place. Those are eye-wateringly expensive.
“If you’re going to remove parking, people generally aren’t happy with that. We will need to be sensitive to things people say.
“People have got used to walking in the road to avoid each other. That’s OK when there’s no traffic but now it’s getting dangerous.”
Speaking earlier this month, transport secretary Grant Shapps said the crisis was a “once in a generation opportunity to deliver a lasting transformative change”.
He ordered local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians.
On Friday, the council revealed its plans but Councillor Romero was cautious, saying: “The money still hasn’t come into Weca [the West of England Combined Authority] and we still don’t know how much money will be coming forward.
“At one point we were expecting £4.5million across the three authorities but now expect about £3million.”
That could equate to only around £500,000-600,000 coming to B&NES Council.
“It’s been a defining feature of the Government how they have been announcing things without consulting local authorities,” said Councillor Romero.
“We’re looking at areas that would benefit. We need to put measures around social distancing to make space for residents, shoppers and traders.
“With all changes, people worry about the impact. We want to have those discussions with our residents. With emergency traffic regulation orders we can use that time as a live consultation. You can see what happens when you do something.
“Areas across Bath and North East Somerset are being considered.
“A lot will depend on how much of that money we eventually get.”
The council plans to temporarily widen pavements in Camden Road, St Saviours Road, Manvers Street/ Pierrepont Street, Monmouth Place, Monmouth Street, Moorland Road, North Parade, Queen Square, Somerset Street, Terrace Walk, Walcot Street, Westgate Buildings and Weston High Street.
These streets have been chosen because it is likely people will have to step into the road to avoid one another, or because of high traffic volumes.
The council could also restrict access and remove on-street parking in several locations so that people can safely socially distance and wait outside shops without a conflict with traffic.
The areas being considered include Milsom Street, Cheap Street, Westgate Street, Upper Borough Walls, York Street, Green Street and Kingsmead Square.
The measures also pave the way for permanent “liveable neighbourhoods” with an emphasis on more walking and cycling – a key aim of the council’s Liberal Democrat administration.
Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter