Social distancing barriers in town centre 'taking away 50% of parking'
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
Calls have been made for barriers blocking vehicle parking in Aldeburgh town centre to be removed once lockdown is eased - amid claims they are harming businesses.
Barriers were installed in the resort's High Street last summer as a safeguarding measure to allow for social distancing and reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.
The structures have widened the footpath, but have reduced the number of parking spaces available outside stores.
Aldeburgh community leaders insist the measures are temporary, help ensure the safety of pedestrians and said it was still too early to call for them to be removed due to the current lockdown measures.
Sue Thompson, who manages Thompson's Gallery in High Street, said: "The barriers have made the town look really ghastly.
"You cannot deliver and you cannot pick up here. It's taken away 50% of the parking.
"Lockdown or not, Aldeburgh is very busy on a sunny day.
"My fear is that the council feels the town will be really busy and solve the problem - but it won't.
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"I don't think councils realise retail stores need all the help they can get. This will wreck the high street."
Jack Stacy, who manages clothing retailer O&C Butcher in the town centre, has said he would like to see the barriers removed when all Covid restrictions are lifted.
He said: "The government's roadmap suggests all restrictions will be lifted by June 21. I very much hope they are removed by then."
Sara Fox, town councillor and manager of Aldeburgh Market, said the barriers cannot be replaced once removed and it was still too early to say if they were not needed.
She said: "The barriers will not come back if they are taken away - we need to see if they work first.
"The town needs to be careful as we need the proof and the evidence. We are four and a half weeks away before we can talk about the issue of taking them down."
Ruth Proctor, clerk to Aldeburgh Town Council, added: "The barriers are there as public safety measures due to the pandemic to enable pedestrians to access the High Street safely.
"They are there for the duration of the pandemic.
"We are anticipating Aldeburgh to be very busy when restrictions are eased."