Southwold bus stop relocation plans given funding

An experimental scheme to ban buses and coaches from parts of Southwold town centre has taken a step forward after up to �10,000 was pledged to the project.

Southwold Town Council's grant will be used to prevent buses and coaches travelling along parts of the High Street to ease congestion from the start of the peak summer season.

The money will help fund the move of a bus stop by Chapman newsagents to the Kings Head pub to stop the large vehicles from trundling down a large section of the High Street's shopping area between Victoria Street and the Market Place from June.

However, the congestion easing measures have met with disapproval from businesses along the High Street, who claim they were not consulted properly over the scheme.

As well as the lack of consultation, the Southwold and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce fears that the new arrangements will lead to visitors missing out on the delights of most of Southwold's High Street.

Members also fear the new bus stop with a coach stop at the King's Head will lead to fewer parking spaces in the heart of the town.

Chairman Guy Mitchell, who is sub-post master at Southwold Post Office, said that more than 50 businesses his organisation had asked were against the plans.

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He said: 'The fact is, buses and coaches will stop at the King Head's and people will not get a proper glimpse of Southwold. We are very worried about the economic impact of it.'

The town council says the new traffic arrangements are necessary as congestion is getting worse due to large buses and Southwold's growing popularity.

A council questionnaire also saw 57pc of residents saying there was a traffic problem, with 37pc agreeing the move of the bus stop would help resolve the situation.

The experimental traffic scheme is being match funded by Suffolk County Council and could last 18 months.