Consultation on revised traffic controls attracts feedback from 600

Left to right: Jill Barrett, Choose Woodbridge, local businesswoman; Rick Chapman, Choose Woodbridge

Left to right: Jill Barrett, Choose Woodbridge, local businesswoman; Rick Chapman, Choose Woodbridge, resident; PCSO Graeme Hawkes; Maggie Chapman, Choose Woodbridge, resident; Emma Greenhouse, resident (and daughter of); county councillor Caroline Page; Julian Royale, resident; Geoff Holdcroft, district councillor. Not pictured, but part of the working group: Tony Buckingham, Suffolk Highways; Eamonn O'Nolan, town councillor. Picture: YVONNE HOLDCROFT - Credit: Yvonne Holdcroft

An estimated 600 people responded to a week-long consultation on the future of traffic controls along a Suffolk town’s main shopping street.

Members of the public were invited to comment on possible solutions to the problem of drivers ignoring access signs and parking restrictions in Woodbridge’s Thoroughfare.

The Thoroughfare Working Group came up with three proposed revisions to existing regulations, which were drawn up almost 25 years ago and are now considered in need of updating.

With access currently restricted between peak trading hours of 10am and 4pm, Monday to Saturday, options varied from an outright traffic ban to continuing the same arrangement – but all three included simplified warning signs at the end of the road.

County councillor Caroline Page, who spent 44 hours overseeing the exhibition of plans at Woodbridge Library and on a stall in The Thoroughfare, said: “The underlying premise of the current TRO (traffic regulation order) reflects a pattern of trade that no longer exists, with reference to half-day closing and special provision for shops no longer in The Thoroughfare.

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“The sign is a visible manifestation of the TRO, so we worked with the police and highways authority to ensure it would be easier to understand and enforce.

“The group has been working on three options to fit everyone’s needs. For example, we know that to close The Thoroughfare entirely would neglect residents and traders who only have access from the front of their premises.”

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All options include exemptions for loading vehicles and permit holders, including residents and traders without rear access.

Results of consultation with disabled users will determine whether or not access will be restricted for blue badge holders.

The decision to consult before granting disabled drivers unfettered access was based on results of a disability forum survey, which indicated that pedestrians with mobility issues could be greater impeded by the obstacle of stationary cars than those benefitting from parking.

The Thoroughfare Working Group, which includes Liberal Democrat Ms Page, a Conservative district councillor, Green town councillor, traders, residents, police and highways officials, will organise an exhibition of results before applying for a new TRO.

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