Town Council proposes to lift a road closure order for Beccles market

A COUNCIL has proposed to lift a Friday road closure that was introduced in August to help the town's weekly market grow.

Beccles Town Council this evening voted in favour of reopening New Market on Fridays, having contributed �6,000 last year on closing the road to traffic between 6am and 4pm.

However, the road is unlikely to be open before October as Chris Punt, of Suffolk County Council, said that a new traffic regulation order would have to be applied for if Beccles Regeneration, which oversees the market, follows the council's view.

There had been few objections before the road was closed to encourage the market to grow, but after a series of complaints from businesses about falling trade, the council decided to act.

This evening it voted in favour of a proposal from councillor Stevie Bubb to recommend that Beccles Regeneration ask Suffolk County Council to open the road again.

She said: 'My opinion is that we open the market up to traffic again and create more parking places again. It worked before for many years, and I would like to see it work again.'

It was agreed that one of the key factors was the need for cars to be able park close to the shops on New Market.

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However, mayor Brian Woodruff said it would be wrong for the council to devise an alternate plan for the market in the meeting and Jack Walmsley, councillor and Beccles Regeneration director, said that a working party would be put together from councillors, shop keepers and market traders to establish how it would work in practice.

Mr Walmsley said: 'We will try to find an amicable solution to allow the market to grow and allow people to park their cars.

'There must be a way forward although at the moment I can't quite see where that lies.'

Last year Waveney District Council also contributed �10,500 to help obtain the Friday road closure for the market.

In recent months the road closure had become an issue of controversy in the town with petitions both for and against it collected.

In an open session before the decision was made, the council heard from shopkeepers who spoke of falling trade but also from traders who said the market had expanded despite the tough times felt on high streets across the country.

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