A Sudbury businessman who has seen his retail shops affected by the devastating fire in Sudbury in September 2015 has come up with an idea to pedestrianise an area of the town centre, hoping it will improve the look of the town and provide a boost to businesses.
Jeremy Clayton, who owns Javelin - a clothing retailer with two shops at the Market Hill and Friars Street junction - would like to see the junction area between the two streets pedestrianised.
His business was damaged during the fire which started in neighbouring Celebrities Nails, and was forced to close for a period.
The damage to trade continued while the Friars Street/Market Hill junction was closed and still continues with the junction being only open in one direction, despite his second shop opening during this time.
“I believe it’s an exciting opportunity to make a significant difference to the feel of the town centre at the bottom end of the Market Hill,” he said.
“Javelin, along with all the other traders in Friars Street, has suffered considerably in the aftermath of the fire; the disruption to trade of the building works, hoarding and unsightly traffic controls, as well as constant meetings and negotiations with loss adjusters, architects, planning officers and contractors while the site is rebuilt.
“The section of road at the bottom of Market Hill to Station Road and Friars Street has always been an area hazardous to pedestrians.
“Pedestrianising the triangular area between the bottom of Market Hill and Station Road junction would cause little disruption and make the area much more friendly to pedestrians and a more attractive place to shop and do business. There would be an opportunity for attractive seating and some sort of focal point.
“Traffic would still flow smoothly. We notice that although traffic on Market Hill can presently fork left one way from the Market Hill to Friars St, relatively few cars do this and so the impact of closing this area to traffic would be relatively light.
“In forthcoming months as the former Oxfam shop is rebuilt this section will be closed and so the impact may be gauged.”
Mr Clayton hopes to have outdoor seating as there is a cafe inside his gentleman’s clothing store and hopes neighbouring Pizza Express would do the same.
He added: “It would give benefit to all those traders severely impacted by the fire and there would, at last, be something positive to come from it.”
Sudbury Town Council clerk Jacqui Howells said the idea would be discussed during council’s leisure, environment and highways committee’s next meeting on January 31.