Residents help to shape the future

HUNDREDS of people are helping to shape the future of the riverside frontage in Woodbridge.They have all attended an exhibition outlining proposals for reuniting the town with the River Deben.

HUNDREDS of people are helping to shape the future of the riverside frontage in Woodbridge.

They have all attended an exhibition outlining proposals for reuniting the town with the River Deben.

Already 365 interested residents and visitors have completed a questionnaire which was made available at a two-day exhibition at New Street primary school.

This is substantially higher than the number who took part in a survey at an exhibition in August into the redevelopment of the redundant Whisstocks boat yard, and an exhibition last December about the future of the river.

The Woodbridge and Melton Riverside Action Group organised the latest exhibition and chairman Peter Clay said: ''I'm delighted with the result. We logged well over 500 visitors into the exhibition, a figure that equates to at least five per cent of the Woodbridge population. We seem to have tapped into a rich vein of community interest and concern.''

The displays focused on making improvements in Quayside, Bass Dock, Whisstocks, the reed bed, boat pond, riverside walk and many more areas. There were more than 25 priorities identified for improvement.

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Mr Clay added: ''We're very indebted to all of those who attended, particularly as they gave up valuable weekend time to fill in our questionnaire. We are also grateful to the growing number of people who have expressed an interest in becoming involved with our aspiration of an integrated solution to the waterfront's many disjointed issues.''

Mr Clay said he hoped that in future the action group would be able to attract more interest from the town's councillors.

''We're sure they already realise the importance of Woodbridge's waterfront to the community. Judging from the response to the exhibition, the public is very aware of how precarious the situation is,'' he added.

One of the main issues emerging from many months of consultation and analysis is the ''barrier'' effect of the increasingly congested inner ring road which deters people from walking over to the river.

The group proposes that new road designs are introduced that effectively reduce motorists' speeds without officially imposing a 20mph limit and this will make Quayside a more friendly environment for pedestrians.

It also wants to celebrate the 500 years of architectural and cultural history on view in the short walk from Quay Street down to Ferry Quay and not let it be overlooked.

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