NEARLY £500,000 worth of new roadworks are being planned for Sudbury as part of measures aimed at improving traffic flow and pedestrian areas in the town centre.
Suffolk County Council says it has the money earmarked to be spent on highways improvement projects, and it has to be spent by March 2015.
County highways chief Guy McGregor recently met councillors and officials from Sudbury Town Council and has taken away a “wish list” of how the town council wants the money spent.
The list includes making King Street and East Street – including the area outside the post office – pedestrian-friendly and similar in appearance to North Street.
Also planned are traffic improvements at the Belle Vue roundabout, new town centre signs, cycle routes and more town centre parking bays for people who are disabled.
The council has urged the county council to abandon its original plan to pedestrianise the north side of Market Hill and stop public car parking. Town clerk Sue Brotherwood said the move would “go down like a lead balloon with the public”.
She said: ““This money is currently up for grabs and the council is trying to get the best outcome for Sudbury. If the county council don’t do it here, it will go somewhere else so it may as well be Sudbury which benefits.”
She said a past offer of county council funding to improve the bus station area had been lost, so Sudbury did not want to lose out again. The public would be able to comment on any future plans.
King Street trader David Holland, from Curtain Craft, has criticised the future roadworks on a new website he has set up called www.lovesudbury.org.
He said: “Sudbury Town Council appears to feel unable to bring forward better solutions for fear of losing the improvements funding.
“Suffolk County Council Highways is essentially bullying and takes the stance under their leader that they know best and Sudbury either accepts their plan or goes without.”
But a spokesman for Suffolk County Council rejected the claim saying it was untrue and that the county had met with the town council to hear its views. He said: “As part of the local transport plan, Suffolk County Council currently has £460,000 earmarked to be spent on highways improvement projects in Sudbury. Following feedback from the town council, we are currently reviewing the schemes for Sudbury.
“It’s important that the money is spent on projects that really deliver sustainable transport and economic growth in the town. The money must be spent by March 2015.”
Sudbury’s mayor Jack Owen said: “The county council have a preference to do something with Market Hill, but it could cause controversy and mean losing short-stay and disabled car parking, which has the potential to have people up in arms.”
He said he believed the county council had some ideas which were wrong for Sudbury. Money needed to be spent on projects which didn’t “anger” the public.