Felixstowe: Traders call for councillors to listen to shared space concerns

FELIXSTOWE: Traders are calling for a meeting with councillors to discuss concerns over the shared space scheme – and put forward some solutions.

At least 40 shop owners and managers based in Hamilton Road and the surrounding area met on Monday night at Ruby’s Kitchen to air their views over the project and find constructive ways of addressing their concerns – including a suggestion that parking could be allowed at lunchtimes.

Some retailers reported a fall of up to 11 per cent in sales, while a representative from Edinburgh Woollen Mill said footfall was down nearly 9,000 compared to last year. Traders are putting together figures showing their drop in sales by next Monday, and will then request a meeting with councillors to present this data.

Carol Jones, owner of gift shop Glyph, said: “It was a very good turnout and two of the main chain stores were there as well, so obviously the problem is affecting more than just independents.

“It’s the first time we have ever had a retailers’ meeting and it was good to see so many people there.”

She added: “We want to work with the council and be involved in the decisions, and we would like to see the parking issue resolved.

“We’re hoping to put it to the council that maybe we could have free parking in Felixstowe for a few days or for the Saturdays coming up to Christmas. That would be something to say thank you to the retailers for all the disruption and hopefully to show people that when they park, it’s not that far to walk to the shops, so that would help the scheme in the long run.”

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Another suggestion was that all drivers – not just blue-badge holders – should be able to park in Hamilton Road at lunchtimes or after school to try and recoup some of the passing trade retailers say they have lost.

Suffolk Coastal District councillor Colin Hart, chairman of the shared space steering group, said he did not want to comment on the latest development.

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