A Suffolk town centre street is set to be permanently closed to traffic to provide a safer, cleaner shopping environment.

A temporary closure of the shared space in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe between 10am and 4pm each day has been in place since the summer of 2020, but now the county council will be shutting the street permanently.

The measures were initially introduced during the first lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic when non-essential shops were allowed to re-open and received huge support from the public during consultations.

The news was welcomed by Suffolk county councillor Steve Wiles, who represents Felixstowe and also sits on Felixstowe Town Council.

He said: "All in all, I really do believe that it has been a very good arrangement for the town. We now have about 325 yards of very safe area between 10am and 4pm daily.

"We now have an area where people with disabilities can come and walk around knowing that there won't be any issues with traffic."

A further period of consultation will run until March 21 before the closure, between the Orwell Road and Cobbold Road ends, is made permanent.

The town's Business Improvement District (BID), which represents businesses seeking to improve the town centre, also supported the changes.

The BID's manager Kate Cain said: “Felixstowe BID are keen for the shared space to become a safer space for shopping for pedestrians and also encourage further use of the paved areas to encourage a continental-style atmosphere.

"We have been lobbying local authorities to allow the provision of an attractive gate for the entrance to this part of the town: something in keeping with our Edwardian heritage and reflecting our seaside town's popularity.

"The previous ‘barrier’ of two grey wheelie bins marking the entrance to our shared space will not be missed, but we do have concerns over policing the area for traffic violations.

"Let’s hope the public get behind this new regime and respect the new laws. A new gate would be a great visual deterrent.”