Traders back town centre car ban

TRADERS in Felixstowe today gave their backing to an all-year-round shopper-friendly traffic-free zone - providing it is part of a package of proposals to regenerate the town centre.

TRADERS in Felixstowe today gave their backing to an all-year-round shopper-friendly traffic-free zone - providing it is part of a package of proposals to regenerate the town centre.

Consultants have identified pedestrianisation of the main area of Hamilton Road - Boots to Bank Corner - as a key project for the future of the resort.

Until now Felixstowe Chamber of Trade and Commerce has not had strong views, particularly as the issue has divided its members over the past 25 years with many shops worried at the impact the loss of passing trade could have on their takings.

Now, following a survey it carried out to get the view of business owners and managers, the chamber has agreed to give conditional backing to a pedestrian-friendly precinct.

Chamber chairman Peter Dawes said: “The views expressed by those who agreed to participate in the survey suggested that the majority of businesses concerned were in favour of the proposed plans.

“Pedestrianisation can bring benefits to businesses in Hamilton Road and to the public using the town centre but only if it is carried out in conjunction with the complementary plans for the adjacent areas.”

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Issues surrounding car parking and a proposed development of The Triangle and its facilities are, according to the chamber, integral along with other proposals to the success of the town centre regeneration.

As yet no formal plans have been put forward though a variety of ideas are under consideration for The Triangle, including moving the toilets elsewhere and creating an open-air café and performance area.

Boots to Bank Corner is currently pedestrianised on Saturdays between 10am and 5pm and many shoppers like the arrangement, especially as it removes traffic danger and makes it more attractive to shop.

David Lock Associates, who are drawing up a masterplan for the future of the seafront and town centre, suggest a scheme involving widening pavements, by narrowing the road, with parking bays on one side only, plus new road surfacing, extra seats, street trees, cycle racks and flags.

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

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