Home   Sudbury   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Sudbury parking ban is an overreaction, claim critics as scheme is extended





A decision to continue imposing a temporary parking ban in Sudbury has drawn heavy criticism from opponents, who fear the move could prove detrimental to local trade.

Designated parking bays on Market Hill have been removed from public use to aid social distancing in the town, with Great Cornard councillor Peter Beer describing the scheme as “over the top”.

Cllr Beer criticised Sudbury Town Council for implementing restrictions on town centre parking, claiming that there had been sufficient room for shoppers to move around safely before the measures were introduced in June.

“There was enough space for people to get past each other,” he said. “If they needed more space, they could have roped off some of the area.”

District Councillors and a Town Councillor have criticised the decision to temporarily suspend parking in the town centre..Pictured: Pter Beer, Margaret Marbury and Simon Barrett...PICTURE: Mecha Morton.. (41156847)
District Councillors and a Town Councillor have criticised the decision to temporarily suspend parking in the town centre..Pictured: Pter Beer, Margaret Marbury and Simon Barrett...PICTURE: Mecha Morton.. (41156847)

Concerned that the parking restrictions could deter shoppers from visiting the town, Lavenham district councillor Margaret Maybury said: “I’m keen on social distancing and keeping others safe, but people still have to use the town centre to keep our businesses financially viable, and this is what we need to remember.”

Simon Barrett, who voted against the continuation of the parking restrictions at a previous town council meeting, claimed that some people had voiced their scepticism over the scale of the measures.

“The general view is that it is an overreaction,” he said, adding that some business owners had seen a significant drop in footfall since reopening.

“They have noticed a down turn in trade,” he said.

While recognising businesses in the town and across the UK had been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Cllr Beer argued that the parking ban had made the matter worse for local traders.

“I’m sure that has contributed to businesses deciding to call it a day that much sooner,” he said. “If people could get better parking in town, they might have been able to carry on for longer.

“They are all struggling and there’s a lot of difficulties, but this is not the way to solve the problem.”

Reflecting on the cost of the new planters on Market Hill, which have replaced barriers to block off parking spaces, Cllr Barrett said: I don’t think it was a good use of money; I think we could have used it in another way.”

Cllr Maybury added: “I’m not adverse to the planters as I’m a believer in flora and fauna in helping people’s mental health, however, blocking the whole area is hardly conducive to good business.”

In response, Sudbury town centre manager Rachel Price said: “Given that we are in the midst of a global pandemic and a recession, there are a multitude of factors affecting businesses at this time.

“Most businesses predicted a 40 to 50 per cent fall in their sales on their reopening in June and July and have adjusted their sales targets in accordance with this.

“Many of the businesses have reported that their sales have been above target given the impact of the pandemic.

“Moreover, some retail sectors have been impacted more than others at this time, and not always negatively.”