Town’s main shopping area now closed daily to traffic to protect shoppers
- Credit: Archant
Felixstowe’s main town centre shopping area has been closed off to traffic for the foreseeable future – to make life safer for visitors.
Barriers are being put in place every day from 10am to 4pm between Boots and Bank Corner in Hamilton Road, the main shared space area.
Community leaders say the move will make it safer for shoppers queuing outside stores and give people more confidence that they can visit and maintain social distancing.
The resort has many small outlets and queuing outside is difficult without impinging on adjoining shops. In the past few months people have queued across the street but this has been dangerous with traffic still using the road.
However, the closure has been criticised by former mayor Andy Smith, who has labelled it as “crazy” to remove the resort’s “shop window”.
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Mayor of Felixstowe, Mark Jepson said a number of changes were being planned over the coming months to help people stay safe following guidance on social distancing.
He said closure of the shared space between 10am and 4pm was one of the key measures.
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He said: “This will make the area pedestrian friendly with traffic restrictions in place to assist people to observe social distancing rules and help businesses to protect staff and customers and to trade effectively.
“The closure is a temporary measure which will be reviewed later in July with consumers and local businesses.
“Next week we expect other plans to include public realm signage to help direct safe shopping and movement in key locations.”
Deliveries to shops without rear access will have to be made before 10am or after 4pm. There will be access for emergency vehicles.
Blue badge holders – the only motorists allowed to park in the shared space – can park on Cobbold Road opposite Abbeygate Lighting, next to The Triangle and other locations around the town centre.
Town councillor Andy Smith opposes the closure and said Hamilton Road was the town’s “shop window” and people needed to be able to drive along it to see what was open and what was on offer.
Businesses have implemented their own arrangements for protecting staff and customers.
Visitors to Felixstowe are encouraged to cycle, walk, or if arriving by car to park in the nearest available car park as there will be restricted on street parking availability.
East Suffolk Council is overseeing local actions, which are being supported by Suffolk County Council Highways and East Suffolk Norse.