Town street plan goes back to drawing board

Proposed changes to Sudbury’s streets are to be redrawn with the views of those who use the roads on a regular basis given more weight.

The town has been allocated £460,000 by Suffolk County Council as part of the Local Transport Plan, but needs to spend the money by 2015.

The authority had provisionally earmarked a proportion of the money to a shared space scheme. This involves making the town centre more pedestrian friendly by reducing car parking spaces, creating cycle routes and alterations to Belle Vue roundabout.

However, the original plans were not well received by many in the town and the council has scrapped the proposals to seek fresh input from traders, councillors and residents.

Simon Barrett, a district councillor and chairman of Sudbury Steering Group, said he welcomed the new approach.

“The council has wiped the slate clean, as the idea of the shared space project initially went down very badly,” he said.

“It has listened to what has been said and should now get a really good understanding of what is required.”

Mr Barrett said organisations such as the Sudbury Society would be involved in shaping the town’s road and traffic network, while residents should contact him and other councillors with areas that they feel need improving.

“We need to give the county council a good steer on this and need to make sure we keep the town lively,” he said.

“We have to be responsible with the money and don’t want to waste it. The changes have to benefit the town and we want ideas from the public.”

Market Hill had been the main focus for the council’s plan, but the money can be used on highways and footpaths across the whole town.

Sudbury town councillor Nigel Bennett said roads such as Cross Street, which has air quality problems, Great Eastern Road and streets with speeding issues could also be tackled.

“There is a strong case that Market Hill doesn’t need anything doing to it and we want people to put forward their top priorities,” he said.

“People can drop letters into the town hall and any contributions would be helpful. If more money comes forward in future years, we have some pointers as well.”

Trader David Holland, from Curtain Craft in King Street, who had criticised the county council’s plans, said the turnaround was “some of the best news for Sudbury in a long time”.

“We want a thriving town and we can make that possible,” he said.

“There are lots of people with good ideas and this needs to be embraced, otherwise people from outside could come in and spoil the town.”

On the Free Press Facebook page, readers called for zebra crossings from the Pied Cow to Belle Vue Park and a mini-roundabout in Great Eastern Road.

Guy McGregor, county councillor responsible for roads, planning and transport, said the authority had an open mind with regards to Sudbury’s transport plan. “I would encourage anyone with a view to share it with us so that we can make the right decisions for the town,” he said. A consultation will be held at the town hall on February 28.