Sheringham pedestrianisation plans hit a hurdle after town council vote gives a red light to a trial

North Norfolk district councillor Judy Oliver with district council chairman Richard Shepherd (left)

North Norfolk district councillor Judy Oliver with district council chairman Richard Shepherd (left) and town councillor David Ward, who are backing her plans to run a pedestrianisation trial in Sheringham town centre. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

A plan to run a pedestrianisation trial in parts of Sheringham town centre has hit a potential road block, after the town council voted against setting up a working party to take the scheme forward.

North Norfolk district councillor Judy Oliver sent out a 5,000-household survey asking for people's opinions on having a traffic-free zone earlier this year.

But, despite results showing just over 70pc of respondents were in favour of pedestrianisation, town councillors voted eight to four against supporting her plans.

'I spoke to the town council and the Chamber of Trade at every stage of the process and nobody had expressed any concerns, so I was quite surprised when they decided not to support a trial,' Mrs Oliver said. 'In my view, the benefits to the town are quite clear but, until we have a trial, we won't know.'

The most popular area for a traffic-free zone among the 408 residents completing the survey was High Street, parts of which are already closed to vehicles during various annual events.

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Six weekends between July and October was the most popular time for a trial and while most felt the scheme was a good idea as long as deliveries, taxi services and provision for disabled drivers were protected, others were concerned pedestrianisation could be detrimental to local traders and the overall character of the town.

Town councillor David Ward, who voted for a trial, said: 'You only have to come down High Street when the carnival or the Potty Festival is on to see what a difference to the ambience of the town there is and, after all, we are not looking at permanent pedestrianisation at this stage, it is just a trial to see how it would work.'

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Mrs Oliver is now looking at setting up an independent working party made up of scheme supporters, including Mr Ward and North Norfolk District Council chairman Richard Shepherd.

She is also looking at finding funding for the £5,000 cost of traffic signage for the proposed trial.

Sheringham mayor David Gooch said: 'Because we were not the ones who instigated the plan, we declined to set up a working party.

'The idea of pedestrianisation has, both now and in the past, come from a district or county councillor, so I think they should be the ones to take it forward.'

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