Bollards and traffic orders to be discussed amid vehicle use in pedestrian areas
- Credit: Suzanne Day
Fresh measures are to be considered to crack down on illegal driving in pedestrian areas of Ipswich town centre – with bollards, barriers and traffic orders among the options on the table.
A survey carried out over 11 days in July found 323 vehicles in use illegally in Ipswich town centre pedestrian areas, and particularly prominent in roads such as Westgate Street, Providence Street and side roads from the main shopping streets.
An Ipswich Borough Council report said: "Due to the lack of enforcement, there has been an increased prevalence of vehicles being driven in the pedestrianised zone unlawfully, especially goods vehicles entering the zone between 10.30am and 4.30pm."
The council's executive will next week assess the survey results and discuss options to tackle the problem - which includes potential to pursue a traffic order that will ban parking at all times and prohibit loading and unloading between 11am and 4.30pm.
Other measures include installing barriers or bollards or request greater enforcement by police for vehicles illegally using pedestrian areas.
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It is understood that those options would require an analysis of potential costs.
Councillor Sarah Barber, Ipswich Borough Council's portfolio holder for the town centre, said: "It's about ensuring pedestrianised areas of Ipswich are safe and comfortable for people to walk around and come into Ipswich.
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"We are encouraging people to come to Ipswich with the Elmer trail and events, and the town centre feels like a buzzing, happy place to be, but it's making sure they are safe."
If the executive committee decides to pursue traffic regulation order measures with Suffolk County Council, it is understood a public consultation would need to take place.
The council's report added: "The survey carried out by Ipswich Central demonstrates that there is a problem of unlawful motor vehicle access into the pedestrianised zone.
"This runs contrary to the need to ensure the safety of pedestrians of which there are often high numbers at the times in question, and to the desire to have a more relaxed and friendly shopping environment."
While Ipswich Borough Council has responsibility for parking enforcement, traffic restrictions can only be done by enforced police, which the council acknowledged the force was unable to prioritise amid stretched resources.