Controversial barriers to be removed from Hadleigh High Street
- Credit: Archant
Controversial barriers put up in Hadleigh to encourage social distancing are to be removed after a decision made at a heated town council meeting tonight.
A one-way system was put in place in the High Street on July 28, with ‘unsightly’ orange barriers used to mark out routes.
The bollards attracted widespread criticism from both residents and businesses.
Hadleigh Town Council met virtually on Thursday, August 20, to discuss the Safer Spaces scheme.
Town councillors repeatedly said they felt pressured into making a rush decision quickly in May despite the scheme not coming into force until July when resurfacing works in Magdalen Road were complete,
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Had they realised they had more time, they would have consulted with the public, they said.
They also stated they did not appreciate the power to make adjustments was in their hands.
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Members of the council discussed the pros and cons of the system with Cllrs Steve Allman and Frank Minns applauding the measures to protect those shielding from Covid.
Colleague Gordon McLeod described the barriers as “appalling” and should be taken down.
There was a heated debate between Suffolk County Councillor Mick Fraser, members of the town council and Sian Dawson, Babergh District Councillor for Hadleigh North, over who was responsible for the scheme.
Helen Allan, Hadleigh mayor and chairman of the town council, said: “We agreed, with reservations, we would go ahead with a trial of the scheme. We agreed this due to the Covid pandemic and we did not want the system to impact businesses or residents.
“Since the scheme was put in place restrictions have changed and our original concerns, regarding large queues, are no longer having the same impact.”
Referencing the confrontations, local business owner Neil Bevis, said: “Moving forward, if you really want to help Hadleigh you need to do so much more, be more vocal and transparent.
“I have lived here all of my life so to see what is being done to it is outrageous. I hope you do the right thing tonight.”
The council eventually voted for a proposal to remove the barriers immediately with future discussion between businesses and residents to find a better solution to ensure social distancing.
An earlier proposal to leave the barriers and replace them with planter boxes was voted against.