Pedestrian plans slammed
TRADERS in Felixstowe must be consulted on any pedestrianisation plans for the town centre – and their views should be given priority.That's the opinion of town and district councillor Dot Paddick who was staggered to learn tax payers' money had been used to fund research that could have been done for free.
TRADERS in Felixstowe must be consulted on any pedestrianisation plans for the town centre – and their views should be given priority.
That's the opinion of town and district councillor Dot Paddick who was staggered to learn tax payers' money had been used to fund research that could have been done for free.
Highly-paid consultants have again recommended the town centre should be traffic free, but Mrs Paddick said traders were the real experts.
She said: "We didn't need to pay consultants thousands of pounds to find out whether pedestrianisation will be good for Felixstowe – the council could have asked the traders that for free.
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"And the shopkeepers will tell the council that no, it will not be good. In fact, it will wreck businesses and ruin the town centre."
Angered by the report by CB Richard Ellis Ltd, Mrs Paddick has carried out a survey of traders in Hamilton Road between Boots and Bank Corner to see if pedestrianisation would be welcomed.
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She said: "Every single shop I spoke to – independents and multi-nationals – said the same - they did not want pedestrianisation.
"Many could remember the last trial we had in 1990 which was a fiasco and nearly put some people out of business.
"People lost thousands in a few weeks and it had to be abandoned.
"Passing traffic and the ability to park close to where you need to go in Hamilton Road is essential.
"People will not park and walk. They want to be able to pop into town for a few minutes, buy the items they need, and get back to work or home.
"The turnover of cars in the parking spaces in Hamilton Road is phenomenal."
Mrs Paddick said parking in the main shopping area was a huge bonus for those who suffer mobility problems and this made Felixstowe an attractive place to shop.
She urged Suffolk Coastal to omit the idea from the new local plan once and for all to relieve traders' worries.
Traders have been told their views will be taken into account during the formation next year's plan.
And they will then be given the chance to voice their grievances.
Businesses though are worried about creeping pedestrianisation. Some see proposals to make Bent Hill traffic-free the first stage of a project that will gradually spread up Hamilton Road.
The chamber of trade has already sent letters of objection to the draft local action plan for traffic at the resort, which suggests the main shopping area will be fully pedestrianised within 15 years.
n Would you like to see Felixstowe town centre pedestrianised – would it make you shop there? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk.