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Should busy town street become car-free on Saturdays?

PUBLISHED: 11:03 11 February 2020

Mark Cordell of Our Bury St Edmunds BID, left, and Rosie Hunter from Vinyl Hunter records in St John's Street where businesses are being consulted about traffic-free Saturdays. Picture: OUR BURY ST EDMUNDS BID

Mark Cordell of Our Bury St Edmunds BID, left, and Rosie Hunter from Vinyl Hunter records in St John's Street where businesses are being consulted about traffic-free Saturdays. Picture: OUR BURY ST EDMUNDS BID

Our Bury St Edmunds BID

Business owners in a Bury St Edmunds street known for its mix of independent shops are calling for it to become traffic-free one day a week.

A consultation letter is being sent to all the businesses in St John's Street asking for views on making it pedestrian-only on Saturdays.

The consultation has the backing of Our Bury St Edmunds, which runs the Business Improvement District (BID).

The idea has been spearheaded by Rosie Hunter from family-run Vinyl Hunter record shop and café, after the success of closing the road to vehicles for events such as the Christmas Fayre and the St John's Street Festival.

She said: "When we have been traffic-free for special occasions it has allowed St John's Street to become a showcase for the amazing and unique businesses we have here including shops, bars and restaurants.

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"People can wander around with no vehicles or obstructions to worry about and it's on occasions like this that we encounter a number of first time visitors to this part of town who we'd like to see become regular customers."

Businesses are being asked to give their views on the proposals by the end of this month, either by contacting Rosie at Vinyl Hunter or Mark Cordell, chief executive of the BID.

He said: "We are only too aware of how much the High Street is changing and for town centres to succeed they need to explore options that may not have been considered before.

"The consultation is just the first step of that process, but if there is support for it we would begin a discussion with the highways authority. Abbeygate Street has part time pedestrianisation already, so there is a blueprint to work from."

The consultation is currently only open to businesses in St John's Street, plus a number in Brentgovel Street.

Any that have not received the initial letter should contact Rosie at Vinyl Hunter at 56 St John's Street.

The BID, which is funded by levy-paying businesses within the town centre and works with other agencies, including local authorities and the police to enhance existing services for the town, can be contacted via its website or on 01284 766258.

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