Traders fear traffic ban

TRADERS fear moves to ban traffic from one of Felixstowe's main routes to the seafront is the "thin end of the wedge".Shopkeepers, residents and councillors voiced their concerns at an exhibition of radical proposals to change traffic patterns in the town centre and seafront to make the resort more attractive to visitors.

TRADERS fear moves to ban traffic from one of Felixstowe's main routes to the seafront is the "thin end of the wedge".

Shopkeepers, residents and councillors voiced their concerns at an exhibition of radical proposals to change traffic patterns in the town centre and seafront to make the resort more attractive to visitors.

But highways officials did not get the reaction they might have expected to the plans, likely to cost several hundred thousand pounds to put in place.

Instead, business owners feared the suggestion to pedestrianise steep and winding Bent Hill was the first step to a traffic-free town centre – which many object to because of the worry of losing passing trade.

Those at the south end Hamilton Road said if there were no cars coming up Bent Hill it could certainly mean lost trade.

Town and district councillor Ann Rodwell said: "I feel these plans are just tinkering – unless you are going to pedestrianise Hamilton Road you might as well leave well alone.

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"I am not sure this plan overcomes all the problems in that area and whether it is worth spending the money."

South Hill residents who came to see the plans – which were due to be on show again today at the Waverley Hotel, Wolsey Gardens, from 10am to 4pm – were concerned it could lead to more parking outside their homes.

Officials stressed the plans were not finalised and the exhibition was merely to seek people's views so that these could be analysed and taken into account in the final designs for the project, which may be built next year.

One of the main aims of the scheme is to link the town centre with the seafront by making Bent Hill an attractive walk-way to and from the shopping centre.

The project would also enable buses to run again from the seafront. New low floor buses have not been able to use Convalescent Hill – which has upset many disabled swimmers wanting to reach the leisure centre – but engineering changes to the hill would mean services can be brought back.

Wolsey Garden and Convalescent Hill would become the main route to and from the seafront, with changes to the Tomline Road junction on the clifftop to change traffic priorities.

Traffic calming measures along Undercliff Road West, including a 20mph speed limit would make the area safer for pedestrians.

n What do you think – will this scheme be good for Felixstowe? Does the resort need pedestrianisation? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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