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Ipswich Waterfront could be closed to vehicles permanently in new plans unveiled by Suffolk County Council

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Permanent plans to close Ipswich Waterfront to motor vehicles have been unveiled by council chiefs.

The stretch of road between the Old Custom House and Coprolite Street has been closed to traffic since the first Covid-19 lockdown last year, to allow pedestrians and cyclists more space to socially distance.

Proposals have now emerged that plan to make those changes permanent, with a public consultation underway this month seeking views of those who live and work in the area.

Old Customs House, Ipswich Waterfront. Picture by Mark Westley
Old Customs House, Ipswich Waterfront. Picture by Mark Westley

Conservative cabinet member for Ipswich at Suffolk County Council, Paul West, told Wednesday’s Ipswich Borough Council central area committee meeting: “I think the waterfront cycle path by trying to discourage through-traffic is one of the ones that has worked fairly well since the summer, but I won’t pre-judge what the view are from members of the public and councillors for the area.”

The council has also hailed the environment benefits reduced traffic brings.

The plans propose to remove the parking pays outside the Ashtons building, Salthouse Hotel and the University of Suffolk and replace them with a new footway.

Ipswich Waterfront. Picture by Mark Westley
Ipswich Waterfront. Picture by Mark Westley

A combination of bollards, benches and planters will then be put in to prevent parking.

Signs will confirm that vehicles making deliveries to those Waterfront businesses will be allowed access.

A survey carried out last year on the changes found 64 per cent of respondents felt the Waterfront scheme either worked well or very well, with 43 per cent saying it did not work well.

Sarah Adams, leader of the county council’s opposition Labour group said: “I welcome any changes that make walking and cycling easier and safer in Suffolk.

Old Customs House, Ipswich. Picture by Mark Westley
Old Customs House, Ipswich. Picture by Mark Westley

"The county council introduced a number of temporary schemes to achieve this at the start of the pandemic and it is right that, where these have been successful and popular with local communities, we look to make them permanent.

“I know that the traffic restrictions on the Waterfront have largely been well received by residents and visitors so far, and I encourage as many people as possible to comment on the new proposals via the council’s survey.

“However, the council does need to fully consult with businesses along the Waterfront to ensure that any changes also benefit them.

"While the measures might not be causing any issues during lockdown, it could be a different story once businesses are allowed to open back up.”

It follows plans unveiled by the county council last month to make the closure of the left-turn access road from College Street onto Bridge Street permanent.

The consultation runs until 9am on Thursday, March 25. Visit www.suffolk.gov.uk and follow the links to take part.

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