Town Council to consult public on parking restrictions
- Credit: Jasper King
The town council is set to launch a public consultation over views on current parking restrictions in the town centre.
Planters were installed in New Market, Beccles, in 2020 to initially close the road to traffic and allow shoppers to safely socially distance, while encouraging them back into the town centre to support local businesses.
But the move was met with strong opposition from some in the town, with planters illegally removed to allow traffic back through for one day in October.
After a compromise was reached last year, the planters are now only in place on one side of the road, allowing some traffic to now park up, but this received mixed reviews from locals and businesses alike.
Now, the town council agreed at a full council meeting on Tuesday evening, October 5, that a professional public consultation is the best way to move forward as the emergency traffic order is set to come to an end in May 2022.
The councillors began discussing whether to keep the whole of New Market closed for the Friday market.
Councillor Brian Woodruff said Beccles businesses needed to be put first, saying: "We are ignoring what is happening to our shops.
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"Some of these Friday market traders are from outside Beccles and our own shops are losing out.
"We need to protect the businesses of Beccles rather than the market traders."
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But councillor Barry Darch, disagreed saying: "Research shows that town centres with markets are more appealing for shoppers."
Councillors were due to review the current traffic order and decide arrangements for when the order came to an end but soon decided they could not review the recommendation.
Councillor Graham Catchpole said: "We need to look at this as a whole package."
Councillor Paul Jackson added: "This is an emergency order and if we are proposing change there needs to be a consultation exercise. There was community anger because this was forced upon them."
Mayor Richard Stubbings summarised by saying: "We need to consult other sources including East Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council before launching a professional public consultation on the matter.
"As part of this consultation we will consult people and businesses and also hold a public meeting in the future."
All councillors voted unanimously for a professional public consultation.