Group to share plans for shopping street access and parking solutions

Woodbridge Thoroughfare during a car-free period. Picture: JOHN LAUGHLIN

Woodbridge Thoroughfare during a car-free period. Picture: JOHN LAUGHLIN - Credit:

A week long public exhibition will reveal plans to solve the problem of drivers ignoring access signs and parking restrictions on the main shopping street of a Suffolk town.

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

Proposals will go on display at Woodbridge Library this month to combat misuse of The Thoroughfare by unauthorised drivers during restricted hours.

Traffic is currently governed by a 22-year-old traffic order, which restricts access between peak trading hours of 10am and 4pm.

The Woodbridge Thoroughfare Working Group was set up to raise awareness of the current law – which, it had been argued, was patchily enforced and written in impenetrable legalese – but to also address what changes could be made to benefit all users.

The group includes traders from Choose Woodbridge, residents, a Liberal Democrat county councillor, Conservative district councillor, Green town councillor, police and highways officials, with advice from residents with disabilities, who are subject to traffic order exemptions.

An exhibition of possible solutions takes place at the library from September 25 to October 1, when visitors will be asked for their opinions in a questionnaire.

This summer, Woodbridge resident Tony Moorcroft prepared his own report to establish why motorists used The Thoroughfare outside pedestrian-only times, concluding that many offenders were aware of restrictions but choose to ignore them.

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County councillor Caroline Page said: “This is a cross-party project. It’s very inclusive.

“Everyone has particular concerns. This is an ideal way to ensure everyone understands they have an equal stake in finding a solution.

“Three separate views of what could happen will be put forward. It should simplify the process of finding a solution, and lead to a better situation for more people.

“Among ideas is a simple, understandable sign. We’ll be showing different options and asking for opinions.

“The problem is twofold. Access signs are inappropriate, and we need to make clearer who can use The Thoroughfare and when.

“The other problem is parking. We must establish who is allowed to park, and for what reason.

“And the needs of people with disabilities are being taken into account.”

Proposals will also be posted on – Caroline Page’s blog.

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