Town’s road closures set to be extended for 18 months

Halesworth town centre has been closed to traffic during several hours of the day to prevent the spr

Halesworth town centre has been closed to traffic during several hours of the day to prevent the spread of coronavirus Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

Road closures introduced in Halesworth town centre to aid with social distancing are set to be kept in place for up to the next 18 months.

In July, Halesworth Town Council opted to close the Thoroughfare and Bridge Street to vehicles between the hours of 10am and 2pm from Monday to Saturday after having discussions with business owners.

Many other east Suffolk towns, such as Felixstowe and Woodbridge, have also introduced similar measures to enforce social distancing in their main shopping streets in recent months.

The closures were originally only meant to be in place for three weeks, but they were extended until the end of August.

The success of the move in keeping visitors safe has meant the council will now enforce the road closures for up to the next year and a half, though it will be monitored at regular intervals.

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Nick Rees, clerk to Halesworth Town Council, said councillors will review the closures’ effectiveness in monthly meetings.

He added: “We are in regular contact with businesses and residents so we will monitor as this goes along.

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“Unlike some other towns, this has been quite popular. There have been some market towns which have encountered problems with road closures.

“But it’s a very different scenario here.

“It was felt that with all the delivery vehicles, it would make it very difficult for people to social distance.

“The council would not be continuing it if it wasn’t popular. Between the four hours, we have that extra space which has been much appreciated.”

Adrian Swaisland, who opened the Farmhouse Cafe in the Thoroughfare after the coronavirus lockdown was lifted, welcomed the extension of the social distancing measures.

He said: “Everything has gone really well. Deliveries can still get through to the town centre before 10am.

“I’ve got no problems with the extension. It’s been helping people to social distance.”

MORE: Plans for town centre CCTV cameras submitted in bid to offer ‘degree of protection’

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