Felixstowe: Safety fears as Hamilton Road shared space branded free-for-all

DESPITE a series of complaints and unrest over Felixstowe’s new �2.8 million shared space shopping area, community leaders today said it will not be reviewed until the end of the year.

The scheme – which allows pedestrians and cars to mix and relies on people politely giving way to each other in Hamilton Road, with parking only for disabled drivers – has been labelled a nightmare by some.

Experts say there should be no reason for most cars to go down the street, especially as there is only parking for disabled drivers.

But it opened only six months ago and councillors say it needs more time to bed in.

There has been fierce criticism of the scheme, including:

? Near misses between cars and pedestrians,

? Cars going faster than the 20mph maximum,

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? Poor signage to explain how it works,

? Drivers unhappy with the disabled-only parking,

? Not enough policing.

Mother-of-two Kate Kingsford-Bere, of Quilter Road, who wrote to Felixstowe Town Council to voice her concern, said the road was a “chaotic free-for-all” in which no-one seemed to know who could go where.

“I am hugely concerned that here is an accident just waiting to happen. It is not clear, particularly for young children, where the ‘path’ ends and the ‘road’ begins,” she said.

Deputy mayor Mike Deacon said: “I think we should listen to this type of comment and take on board this criticism, but I think it is really early days yet for the shared space.

“I think we need to have a very productive discussion later in the year when it has had more time to bed in and then look carefully at all these issues and address them if we need to.

“There are quite a substantial amount of people who are complaining and we would do well to listen. It has the potential to bring many people to our town but it needs to be safe.”

Councillor Jan Garfield voiced concern over signage and said 20mph signs and ones announcing the scheme were needed at the entrance outside Boots.

"I think the scheme is great, but people don't know how to use it, especially if they don't live in Felixstowe," she added.

Councillor Joan Sennington said the roadway was not clearly defined enough, but Graham Newman said the road had previously been more dangerous when it was choked with cars.