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Protests stall town centre road closure scheme

PUBLISHED: 06:44 10 July 2020

Charlie Gerard of The Old Cannon Brewery welcomed the decision by Suffolk County Council to shelve the roads plan after protests from businesses. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Charlie Gerard of The Old Cannon Brewery welcomed the decision by Suffolk County Council to shelve the roads plan after protests from businesses. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Suffolk County Council has slammed the brakes on a plan to close off roads in Bury St Edmunds town centre after protests from traders.

Cannon Street in Bury St Edmunds from Curry's Service Cemtre. Picture: GOOGLECannon Street in Bury St Edmunds from Curry's Service Cemtre. Picture: GOOGLE

Highways chiefs wanted to close off Cadney Lane and parts of adjoining Cannon Street to traffic as a way of promoting walking and cycling.

But businesses in the area protested, with one launching an online petition which has attracted more than 300 signatures.

Andrew Curry of Curry’s Service Centre in Cannon Street, whose family has been trading in the town since the late 1800s, said in the petition the proposal to close Cadney Lane was dangerous and would impact on other roads in the area.

“Access to Cannon Street will be off the busy Northgate Street roundabout. This will be accidents waiting to happen and not making it safer,” he said.

Now, the council has contacted businesses to tell them that following feedback the plan was on hold while alternative solutions were discussed.

Charlie Gerard, managing partner in The Old Cannon Brewery brasserie and bar in Cannon Street, said he was glad the council was thinking again.

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“We have a lot of drays come to deliver and pick-up - they are big lorries and I have no idea where they would have had to turn round to get to us under these proposals.

“So I am happy that the council has listened to our concerns, the petition seems to have worked.”

Justin Sharp, who runs the Pea Porridge restaurant with wife Jurga, said he was not necessarily opposed to road closures but he wanted more details from the council over what the benefits might be.

He said: “What they are considering hasn’t really been explained fully to us as to how it would function, although I’ve tried to push them for more information. I want them to show us how these changes will be of benefit.”

A Suffolk County Council spokesperson, said: “The area around Cannon Street is a key route from the east of Bury St Edmunds into the town centre. We have been looking to establish a safe and easy walking and cycling route in the area following the Government announcement of a £250m investment in swift emergency interventions to make walking and cycling easier during the COVID-19 pandemic and avoid over-crowding on the transport network.

“The interventions aim to ensure local people who need and want to make essential journeys and take daily exercise by foot or bike can do so safely whilst maintaining social distancing measures.

“Following discussions with local businesses in the area we have decided to pause this scheme to assess alternative solutions. We will be contacting local residents and businesses in due course to discuss further and we welcome their suggestions on alternative solutions.”

MORE: Government cash to promote cycling and walking in town centres


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