A survey into plans to close Sudbury town centre to traffic has been branded 'biased' while the town council has been criticised over communication. 

The pilot scheme to close half of Market Hill to drivers and remove parking through the summer months, allowing extra space for outdoor dining at  restaurants, was given final approval by Sudbury Town Council on February 13.

However, Suffolk County Council, the body with the power to approve the required traffic order, confirmed last week that the proposal had been withdrawn after "opposition from a number of local businesses, Sudbury Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders".

Now, town councillor Tim Regester has hit out at a Sudbury Chamber of Commerce survey, which had 53 responses and was handed in to Suffolk County Council, branding it "biased" and "unbalanced". 

East Anglian Daily Times: Town councillor Tim RegesterTown councillor Tim Regester (Image: Sudbury Town Council)

He claimed the wording of the questions meant it would only get responses from businesses that objected to the experiment, and offered no opportunity to share support.

"The results from this flawed survey were, as far as we can tell, used as evidence to persuade Cllr Richard Smith to stop the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order," he said.

"We know misinformation is commonplace now but this is an egregious example that has cost the taxpayers thousands of pounds in wasted work."

Adrian Stohr, who also sits on the town council, said: "This was never in our minds to damage our businesses, only to improve footfall combined with events taking place organised by our town manager, who had exciting ideas.

"To hear this week one person went against our democratic vote to put a stop to the hard work our staff has worked on and councillors too - is this democracy with just a few people still allowed to win?" 

East Anglian Daily Times: Adrian StohrAdrian Stohr (Image: Contributed)

He called for councillors who "don't believe in being a voice for Sudbury" to resign. 

Simon Barrett, representing Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber's survey was carried out by three of their members and each business within a close proximity to Market Hill was interviewed.

He said the only business that did not sign against the plan was the Lady Elizabeth, as they would have been happy to use the space for outdoor tables. 

"The chamber are not at all against improvements to the Market Hill, there could be advantages for the area to be enhanced, we just feel that there has been very little communication with the retailers whose income is very much affected by the changes," he said. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Market Hill in SudburyMarket Hill in Sudbury (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Barrett claimed most businesses did not know the trial was set to take place and said the town council had not made it clear how the outcome of the ETRO would be recorded and measured.

He continued: "We've got all the town councils and parish councils saying look, we don't want parking charges and yet we've got got the same town council saying we want to get rid of parking on Market Hill which is free for a six-month long period. There is a certain disconnect there.

"We as the chamber like to think we're just balanced, we're there to represent the business community and we're not political in that way." 

READ MORE: Disappointment as Sudbury Market Hill parking closure plan withdrawn

Cllr Richard Smith MVO, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for economic development, skills, transport strategy and waste who made the decision to withdraw the plan, said: “Many residents rely on their cars to access local shops and services.

East Anglian Daily Times: Cllr Richard Smith MVOCllr Richard Smith MVO (Image: Suffolk County Council)

"Replacing these parking spaces with seating would benefit only a few of the businesses at Market Hill, while others fear they would suffer from decreased footfall and trade by making access to vehicles more difficult.

"A survey by Sudbury Chamber of Commerce also found significant local opposition and this response should not be disparaged or overlooked.

“Because of these concerns, I was not willing to authorise the closure of these parking spaces."