Could government cash help make Meredith Road safer for shoppers?

PUBLISHED: 07:30 07 October 2020 | UPDATED: 07:59 07 October 2020

New crossings could make Meredith Road safer for shoppers?  Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

New crossings could make Meredith Road safer for shoppers? Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

As the campaign to get more central government investment in Ipswich steps up, users of one of the town’s busiest local shopping areas are hoping to get some of the money to install a pair of pedestrian crossings to bring the street together.

Dr Dan Poulter has pledged his support for calls to retain the Aldi store at Meredith Road.  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDDr Dan Poulter has pledged his support for calls to retain the Aldi store at Meredith Road. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Meredith Road is at the heart of the Whitton Estate and is one of the busiest neighbourhood shopping centres in the town.

MORE: Could neighbourhood shopping centres get a new lease of life?

It is home to an Aldi store – but also has a traditional bakery, greengrocer, takeaways, a curry house and a cafe as well as popular charity shops.

Dr Dan Poulter MP.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDr Dan Poulter MP. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

About 15 years ago the road was re-engineered with two islands installed to slow traffic which uses it to get from Highfield Road to Norwich Road. At the time they were installed, they were designed to make it easier for pedestrians – especially people with buggies or wheelchairs – to cross.

However, shoppers say they have been frustrated because cars are able to stop beside the islands while waiting for the lights at the Norwich Road junction to change – and this makes it very difficult for some to cross.

Local shopper Lucky Singh has contacted MP Dr Dan Poulter’s office to try to get his support to try to persuade Suffolk County Council to turn them into pedestrian crossings.

He said: “That shouldn’t be too big a job, and it would make it much easier for people to get from one side of the road to the other, especially if they are in mobility scooter or pushing a buggy.

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“I know Dr Dan is trying to get funding to improve local centres – and I think this would make a big difference to Meredith Road without being too expensive. It would just need to be painted as a couple of zebra crossings.”

Meredith Road is already one of the areas that Dr Poulter is hoping to bring investment to over the next few years – and he is also hoping to ensure there is no danger of the Aldi store closing when a new branch of the discount retailer opens on Europa Way, off Sproughton Road, next year.

MORE: Meredith Road Aldi store on “For Sale” list

The company insists it has no closure plans – although the store is being marketed by a Cambridge-based estate agent which says it will become vacant because of a “store relocation”.

Dr Poulter said: “Aldi always seems very busy when I’ve been there – and it is used by local people as well as those who drive there. I shall do what I can to ensure it stays at Meredith Road in the future.

“The shopping parades in North West Ipswich are an important part of the fabric of our communities, but they have often missed out on funding to make them more attractive to shop and visit. Part of any improvements should undoubtedly be around ease of access and work to enhance the pedestrian crossings at Meredith Road would be a real improvement for local residents, helping to improve car parking and traffic flow, but more importantly safeguarding pedestrians trying to cross this very busy road.

“Investment in our local shopping parades is one of the key ways we can ensure that the Government’s Towns Fund can benefit our communities in North West Ipswich and road safety improvements such as these could certainly be considered as part of the scope of the project, were it to be successful.

“The consultation remains open, so please make sure you register your views and support our local shopping parades.”

MORE: Have your say on how Ipswich can be improved

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