'I love it' –shoppers and retailers hope Ipswich street closure is here to stay
- Credit: Archant
The first reaction to the proposed permanent closure of an Ipswich town centre road has been mostly positive from shoppers and businesses.
Suffolk County Council has put a daytime stop to Upper Brook Street traffic - bar walking and cycling - for over a year, which prevents journeys from Tacket Street to Buttermarket, and is looking at keeping it this way.
Businesses and shoppers, who point out they were not consulted during the original temporary closure, are happy with the improvement as it reduces bus traffic and makes the road safer.
Gold and Silver Buyers' Fahrudin Mugcic said he "loves it" as "you don't feel like you're choking anymore" from the fumes.
"You don't get this constant flow of traffic that keeps coming through and the buses," Mr Mugcic added. "As the buses stop at Cattle Market, you look outside now. You've got this constant flow of people without the worry of a car in the road.
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"The fumes are trapped because the buildings are so tall, the smoke from the buses lingers for so long and you go outside and it chokes you."
The points were further echoed by another jeweller, Dennis Boreham of the eponymous shop, who said he thought it was safer. While Just Essentials Hair & Beauty Stores' Karen Flewitt really liked the road closure for mums "with buggies who can walk in the middle of the road and have more space".
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Manager of Ipswich Shuropody Sonia Lovett went a step further and hopes it's paved over so the buses cannot come down anymore.
Can Can owner Claire Lloyd feels it's helped her business as there is more people traffic in the street and no buses anymore.
"In the winter the dirt [water] splashes up [from cars] and I notice my displays are nicer now," Ms Lloyd added.
But other businesses feel they do not understand the closure and worry about the effect it has had on their customers.
Iwona of the Salami Deli explained her disabled customers are having issues getting to their shop.
A point further echoed by Fair Trade Shop's Siobhan White, who said: "It has had negative impacts though it's nice to have the road quiet when the buses go by.
"Those who cannot walk as far. They aren't coming here from the bus.
"People have been managing to distance so the reason for no driving doesn't make sense."
Ipswich resident Sarah Crump thinks it's great but believes bikes are a safety issue.
"People don't hear bikes and we were sitting in Cafe Nero and someone almost stepped out in front of the bike," Mrs Crump said. "Maybe they need to be told to be careful."
Cycle Ipswich's Leo Berwick said its about cyclists knowing this is a destination not a place for through-traffic and hopes issues around disability are fixed.
Couple Simon and Stacey Miller also agreed that "you can get away from people" when you're able to walk in the road.
"It was just out of the blue but as long as it not affecting the people on the buses it's all good," Mr Miller added.
Mr Mugcic said he doesn't really understand people's objections based on disabled parking, which he thinks is available close by.
He added: "If they want to come to your shop. They'll come to your shop. You're clearly not doing something right.
"I hope it's permanent."
Ipswich Central, the business improvement district, said no business would want traffic in front of their stores again but claimed a solution has to be found for buses and disabled vehicles in their view.
You can take part in the consultation now by visiting www.suffolk.gov.uk/walkingandcycling or by scanning the QR code on the signage at the road closure.