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Proposed plans to further pedestrianise town

PUBLISHED: 15:45 24 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:45 24 January 2018

Exhibition at Halesworth Library about the proposed changes to the town centre. Peter Dutton, chairman of Halesworth Town Council.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Exhibition at Halesworth Library about the proposed changes to the town centre. Peter Dutton, chairman of Halesworth Town Council. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

A market town could see its infrastructure revitalised as a resident-led workgroup reveals proposed plans to further pedestrianise sections of the town.

Exhibition at Halesworth Library about the proposed changes to the town centre. The Thoroughfare.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYExhibition at Halesworth Library about the proposed changes to the town centre. The Thoroughfare. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Halesworth Town Council’s Urban Improvement Workgroup believes the town should be giving priority to shopping pedestrians.

The workgroup, which is comprised of two councillors and seven residents, says that many parts of Halesworth are not safe for pedestrians, cyclists, mobility scooter users and motorists, and the area of greatest concern is the Thoroughfare.

Jill Reece, one of the residents on the workgroup, highlighted the importance of the Thoroughfare for the town.

She said: “We have a vibrant, independent high street - it looks continental and people expect to be able to walk down it.

Exhibition at Halesworth Library about the proposed changes to the town centre.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYExhibition at Halesworth Library about the proposed changes to the town centre. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“We want it to be pedestrianised so shoppers are safe.”

The area is already a designated pedestrian zone except for loading and disabled drivers.

However, according to Peter Dutton, chairman of the town council, many motorists ignore this.

He said: “Because it is not enforced people have learnt they can drive down with impunity and no one is going to do anything about it.

“The only vehicles we want to see down there are emergency and service vehicles.”

He added: “Shoppers are the economic life blood of Halesworth and its main artery is the Thoroughfare.

“They need a pleasant and safe shopping experience and not have to constantly dodge traffic in a pedestrian zone.”

A survey conducted by Ms Reece over 16 random hours found a total of 65 cars without a permit using the Thoroughfare and a further 53 vans.

The dangers facing pedestrians were bought home as Ms Reece was hit by a car while taking the survey.

She said: “It was an enormous 4x4 trying to park and the driver just didn’t see me.”

The Urban Improvement Workgroup is hosting an exhibition of the plans at Halesworth Library this week where residents are being given the chance to complete questionnaires and have their say. The exhibition continues until 7pm on Friday, January 26.

The council will use results to gauge the main concerns of residents before presenting further plans to Suffolk County Council and Highways England.

The proposed plans also include suggestions for Chediston Street and the Market Place.

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