PRESS RELEASE REGARDING CLOSURE OF NEW MARKET AND PHASE TWO OF COVID 19 SAFETY MEASURES
On Tuesday 4 August 2020, Beccles Town Council discussed whether to amend the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) in New Market and move the planters back to the corner of Wetherspoons, running in a diagonal, across to the corner outside Goodwin Cowley Solicitors. The council also considered whether to proceed with phase 2 of the Covid-19 Measures, which included the closure of either Hungate or Blyburgate.
The Deputy Mayor of Beccles, Christine Wheeler, said ‘Council agreed that the measures that had been known as phase 2 (options A and B) would not be progressed any further. We carried out a survey to obtain feedback on these proposed measures, and the majority were against. They had been initially considered to provide the hospitality sector with more outside seating space, but the Government decided to allow inside seating to open as well, and so it was agreed that these measures were no longer required.’
Councillor Wheeler went on to say ‘The council deferred the decision with regard to moving the planters at this time on New Market due to concerns that it would not achieve the desired effect of freeing up enough car parking spaces, which is one of the issues raised by some businesses. There was also concern that confusion may arise with making this area two way traffic. The council will actively give consideration as to whether a change is needed to the current closure and what that should be.
‘The survey response regarding the road closure in New Market showed a small majority in favour of the closure. We are also listening to the businesses and wish to find a solution that will accommodate all concerns. The closure is an experiment, and as such it is hoped that various options will be explored based on the feedback received. Beccles Town Council will consult again on these options as soon as possible, once they have been trialled.’
An experimental TRO usually runs for a period of 6 months during which time Suffolk Council County will consult on the TRO. This is considered by the county council to be the required period to determine whether it is a success or not. However, the reason that this TRO is in place at the moment is for safety reasons to protect the public against Covid-19 and ensure there is sufficient space for social distancing, and allow people to shop safely. The maximum amount of time it could be in place is 18 months. During the consultation, the county council is interested to hear your views so the town council encourages you to send them directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
There has been some concern this road closure will prevent events taking place. It is only the pandemic that will have an impact as to whether events can go ahead and not the actual closure. For example, the Christmas lights will go up in the town, but if any Christmas event can take place this will be down to Government guidelines and what can be organised at that point in time. The council will try to facilitate any community event by being as creative as possible and as such, the Antiques Market organisers have decided to hold the event on the Quay in August.
Councillor Wheeler said ‘Beccles Town Council has to evaluate all of the factors in this ever-developing Covid-19 situation in order to ensure the safety of the public and visitors and the prosperity of the town through its businesses. It is clear from the news that as a country, we are not over the pandemic yet and we must proceed with caution in preparation for the future and the winter months.’