The temporary ban on buses and coaches driving through Southwold town centre looks set to become permanent after councillors approved the move.

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A trial ban was introduced in July last year to ease congestion by moving Southwold’s town centre bus stop to outside the King’s Head pub.

The 18 month ban should now become permanent after Suffolk County Council’s rights of way committee recommended it carry on.

Committee members said that Guy McGregor, cabinet member of roads and transport, should approve the permanent ban, which was set up by the county council and Southwold Town Council.

A report to last week’s committee stated: “The objective of the scheme was to reduce congestion caused by buses and coaches within the High Street and manoeuvring around the Market Place.

“This leads to a safer environment for pedestrians and other road users, enhancing the overall environment.

“It is considered that the experimental scheme has met the original objective, and that it should be made permanent.

“To revery back to allowing buses and coaches to enter the High Street from the northern end with a consequential return of congestion within the town centre.”

The scheme, which prohibits buses and coaches from entering the High Street from Station Road, also bans motorists from turning left from Blackmill Road into York Road.

The original bus stop is now being used for limited waiting bays to provide extra town centre parking.

A consultation had 249 responses with 145 in favour of a permanent ban, 96 against it and eight inconclusive views.

The county council’s legal department received two formal complaints within six months of the ban starting. Both objections raised concerns about the location of the new bus stop and the distance that visitors and shoppers have to walk to and from the town centre.

Southwold and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce supports the scheme but the East Suffolk Travellers Association said most passengers opposed the ban.

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