Pedestrian future for town centre?

TURNING Felixstowe's shopping centre into a pedestrian-priority precinct is back on the agenda - with a lot of people in favour of the idea.Businesses have been against the project for many years because of worries over the loss of passing trade.

TURNING Felixstowe's shopping centre into a pedestrian-priority precinct is back on the agenda - with a lot of people in favour of the idea.

Businesses have been against the project for many years because of worries over the loss of passing trade.

They believe the ability of people to be able to park in Hamilton Road for a short time to make quick trips to the shops is essential to their viability and that people will not walk just a few yards from a car park.

Town councillors though believe pedestrianisation of the area between Boots and Bank Corner - closing it to traffic as it is on Saturdays - will make the town more attractive, safer, and allow activities such as entertainment, street markets and open-air cafés.

The issue has now been looked at David Lock Associates, who are drawing up a masterplan for the future of the seafront and town centre, and a scheme to improve Hamilton Road has been put forward.

“The biggest conflict noted by local stakeholders is the unbalanced share of space between motor vehicles and all other uses,” said David Lock.

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“Vehicles dominate the bustling street. The pedestrian is constrained to narrow pavements and is inadequately catered for in street seating and landscape planting.”

The company is suggesting a new traffic management project to make it pedestrian and cyclist friendly and “to improve the experience of the pedestrian shopper and passer by”.

This would involve widening pavements, by narrowing the road, with parking bays on one side only, plus new road surfacing and extra seats, street trees, cycle racks and flags.

Vehicles would not be allowed in between 9am and 5pm, which would still provide time for deliveries to the shops and businesses.

The consultants say barring traffic full-time would not be good because activity is needed in a quiet town centre after close of business.

Town and district councillor Doreen Savage said it was nice to know pedestrianisation was back on the agenda.

As well as the consultants looking at the idea, it had also been put forward by the new Safer Neighbourhood Groups as a way of improving safety of the area and helping the police.

“There is clearly a lot of support for pedestrianisation as a way forward. The young people interviewed are all in favour and most people I speak to are of a similar mind,” she said.

Do you think traffic should be banned in daytime in Felixstowe town centre? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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