Anger in Hadleigh from residents and businesses at social distancing measures
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Shop owners and residents in Hadleigh have criticised new social distancing measures in the town’s High Street – including barriers to block parking spaces.
The measures, which came into force on Monday, have seen a one way system along High Street, with cars only permitted to travel from Angel Street roundabout then southbound along to Benton Street.
Barriers have blocked off some parking spaces in a bid to help pedestrians follow social distancing, while a 20mph speed limit has also been introduced.
But shop owners fear the measures will cause a drop in passing trade, dealing another blow to business after their forced closure during the coronavirus lockdown.
Julie Towells from Fergusons Delicatessen in High Street, said: “The idea of having the street one-way is alright, without these barriers. Nobody can park, nobody can cross over from one side to the other - it’s causing mayhem in the morning.
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“The fact people are getting confused and are driving up the wrong way means someone is going to get hurt. Most people are really upset by it, locals and businesses.”
Jane Haylock, owner of Idler Bookshop in High Street, said: “We were told it was going to happen, but not when.
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“It’s difficult for pedestrians to cross and the orange barriers are ugly. It’s a complete mess. It looks like there are major road works on the road.”
Andrew McMillan, Hadleigh Town Council manager, said the plans were announced by Suffolk County Council in June after the town council were told their original suggestion of closing High Street to all traffic was impractical.
He said: “This is not about improving the high street, it is about social distancing. It is only a three week trial and we are only two days in – we the town council are not totally for or against it, we just want what is best for everyone.”
In a joint statement, Suffolk County Council and Babergh District Council said temporary emergency measures across the county were under constant review and they would work with communities to refine them as required.
“Suffolk County Council and Babergh District Council are working together to create safer places that will support businesses as they reopen in the district.
“Suffolk Highways has implemented a one-way system and 20mph speed limit in Hadleigh Town Centre, which has enabled the footways to be temporarily widened to allow for social distancing.
“To enable deliveries to the businesses within this section of the High Street, three dedicated areas for ‘loading only’ have been created. We have also retained the current blue badge parking spaces in the High Street.
“These temporary emergency measures across the county are under constant review and we will work with communities to refine them as required.”
Hadleigh Town Council is asking for public feedback before its meeting on Monday, August 3, where the scheme will be reviewed.
You can access the survey here before it closes on Friday, July 31, at midday.