‘We will be as dead as Lowestoft’: Hundreds to protest pedestrianisation of town

Business owners and residents will protest against their town council after claiming a decision to p

Business owners and residents will protest against their town council after claiming a decision to pedestrianise the town is ‘killing the high street’. Photo: Archant - Credit: Archant

Business owners and residents will protest against their town council after claiming a decision to pedestrianise the town is ‘killing the high street’.

Lee Parker, the owner of Vapetopia on Hungate, claimed the pedestrianisation of Beccles is “killing”

Lee Parker, the owner of Vapetopia on Hungate, claimed the pedestrianisation of Beccles is “killing” the town centre. Photo: Lee Parker - Credit: Archant

With some Beccles businesses reporting a 70pc decline in footfall following the decision to ban cars from certain town centre streets, one business owner has warned the town is “following in the footsteps of Lowestoft, and their high street is non-existent now.”

Lee Parker, the owner of Vapetopia on Hungate, claimed the pedestrianisation of Beccles is “killing” the town centre.

He has organised a protest against Beccles Town Council in the town centre on Thursday, August 6, and expects attendees to be “in the hundreds”.

Vapetopia on Hungate. Photo: Lee Parker

Vapetopia on Hungate. Photo: Lee Parker - Credit: Archant

READ MORE: Cars banned from town centre streets as shops reopen

It comes after 300 people signed a petition he started on Tuesday, July 28 in opposition to the council’s decision.


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He said: “The council has ghosted in this traffic order under the guise of distancing, because they wish to make the town more pedestrianised. It’s just party politics and nothing to do with social distancing.”

Christine Wheeler. Photo: Provided

Christine Wheeler. Photo: Provided - Credit: Archant

The council banned cars from New Market and a portion of Blyburgate and Hungate in June, hoping to “give businesses the confidence to open and people the confidence to come into town again”.

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But the road closures lead to the removal of some 30 parking spaces, which some business owners cite as a reason for lower footfall.

Mr Parker said: “I’m down by 30pc, the business next to me has now gone to half days, and some businesses are talking about moving.

Beccles town centre on a busy day during the Food & Drink Festival. Picture: Beccles Food & Drink Fe

Beccles town centre on a busy day during the Food & Drink Festival. Picture: Beccles Food & Drink Festival - Credit: Archant

“The council says it’s only 20-30 parking spaces lost, but when it’s one hour parking at a time, that’s 300 potential customers lost every day.”

READ MORE: ‘They’re killing the town’: Councillor quits over parking policy

While Mr Parker said the measures ought to remain until we understand whether there will be a second wave of coronavirus, he said: “I’m concerned these measures will be made permanent.”

Police are investigating an attempted armed robbery at Oliver & J Jewellery LTD on Blyburgate in Bec

Police are investigating an attempted armed robbery at Oliver & J Jewellery LTD on Blyburgate in Beccles. Images: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

Deputy mayor Christine Wheeler said she urged anyone with concerns to respond to the council’s own survey, available in the town hall or online here, but added the council will consider Mr Parker’s petition.

She said: “We have regularly met with businesses and are listening to what they are saying, and a modification to the order is on this week’s council agenda.

“But this is about safety and there is no party politics involved. We want people to feel safe and able to come into the town.”

New Market, Beccles. Picture: Google.

New Market, Beccles. Picture: Google. - Credit: Archant

Blyburgate, Beccles.Picture: Nick Butcher

Blyburgate, Beccles.Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

New Market, Beccles.Picture: Nick Butcher

New Market, Beccles.Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Hungate, Beccles.Picture: Nick Butcher

Hungate, Beccles.Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Blyburgate, Beccles.Picture: Nick Butcher

Blyburgate, Beccles.Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

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