Social distancing barriers cleared from village after backlash
PUBLISHED: 19:03 18 June 2020
Controversial traffic barriers in the Suffolk village of Lavenham have been removed after opposition from residents and the parish council.
Plans agreed by parish, district and county councils were introduced in Lavenham this week, with several measures brought in to ensure pedestrians were able to keep two meters apart when using the village’s narrow walkways.
This involved traffic barriers being placed throughout the medieval village’s high street to make a wider walkway.
It was a move which prompted an immediate backlash from residents, one of whom even reported the barriers as road defects to Suffolk Highways.
Suffolk Highways has now removed the barriers from the street, but will be keeping ‘no-waiting’ cones in place to prevent cars pulling up outside some shops.
A joint statement from Suffolk County Council and Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council said: “We are working together to create safer places that will support businesses as they reopen in the district.
“Temporary emergency measures are being implemented that are under constant review and we will work with parish and town councils to refine them as required in local areas.
“The situation regarding the temporary emergency traffic management in High Street, Lavenham is one such location where measures have been installed and are now being adjusted to suit local conditions.
“As such the barriers are being removed, but we are leaving the ‘no waiting’ cones in place.
“Suffolk County Council has received and successfully implemented several requests for safer places, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to travel more freely, while adhering to Government’s social distancing guidelines.”
When the measures were first revealed on Tuesday morning, Lavenham Parish Council said the plans it agreed to “bore little resemblance” to what arrived in the village.
Parish council vice-chairman John O’Mahony said while “the non-existent pavements which are integral to a medieval village such as Lavenham present their own challenges”, the barriers were far from what the council imagined.
There was some support for the introduction of the measures and an understanding among residents that something needed to be done to keep people safe as the lockdown was eased.
One anonymous villager said: “It’s clearly all been done for safety, which I know everyone will appreciate the parish for thinking about and for taking action.”
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