Calls for one hour free parking in partly blocked off town centre
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Calls have been made for one hour of car parking to be made free in a town centre which has been partly blocked off during the pandemic.
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.
Some business owners said that when the planters blocked off the whole part of the New Market, it damaged business by deterring people from visiting and parking in the town.
Most local business owners said that the partial reopening of the area to parking was welcome relief following on from the full closure.
The emergency order for the current planters runs out in May and a recent public consultation launched by Beccles Town Council saw 70pc of 680 people surveyed wanted 60 minutes no return free parking on both sides of New Market.
Beccles Town Council will now recommend 60 minutes no return free parking to Suffolk County Council who will make the final decision.
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Craig Anderson, owner of Linen Press on New Market, said he was consulted and voted for 30 minutes no return parking on both sides of the road.
"60 minutes would be fine by me but I'm more preferable that it is 30 minutes either side," he said.
"30 minutes would mean more movement of people in the town centre and greater footfall for local businesses.
"I find more people tend to abuse the power if they are given the 60 minutes.
"But traffic wardens are clamping down on this."
Suffolk County Council will now review the findings of Beccles Town Council's public consultation.