Plans unveiled for town centre revamp

A MARKET square could be transformed to resemble a continental-style “piazza” if council plans to spend a supermarket windfall are given the go-ahead.

Will Clarke

A MARKET square could be transformed to resemble a continental-style “piazza” if council plans to spend a supermarket windfall are given the go-ahead.

Sudbury Town Council is calling for residents' views on radical plans to revamp the town centre by slashing parking and creating a more pedestrian friendly space.

Designers Robin Drury and Stephen Thorpe hope to create a “café culture” in the town with people making better use of public spaces.

Their plan is being made possible by Tesco which is giving the council £300,000 so it can build a superstore extension.

Mr Drury, said their plan would also help amplify the “Waitrose phenomenon” where well-heeled shoppers travel from as far afield as Colchester to pick up their groceries in Sudbury.

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He said: “Our main remit is to change the character of Market Hill to make something much more appealing and pedestrian friendly.

“We want to create a café culture with a shared space scheme with more trees, good quality paving and street furnishings.”

Mr Drury admitted one of the most controversial features of the design would be cutting the number of parking spaces right in the centre.

“Some people want to see the parking gone altogether and some people don't want to lose a single space,” he said. “What we are proposing is cutting some parking and some market stalls.

“We want to create a scheme which will form part of a bigger vision linking a new retail area around the bus station and the town centre together.”

Mr Drury said the plans would now be subject to public scrutiny through a series of exhibitions and talks to find out what the people of Sudbury wanted from their town centre.

Among the key points up for discussion will be the concept of shared space on the north side of Market Hill and around Old Market Place where cafes and pubs would use the area for outside dining and cars will have to move through the crowds.

And whether the junction with Friars Street should be remodelled for safer crossing and whether there should be trees planted along the centre of the Market Hill to separate the shared space from the busy A131.

The plans also detail removing about 20 parking spaces from the centre of the Market Hill and limited to the north side, to stop vehicles backing onto the A131.

In the market stalls will be lined along the shared space on Market Hill and in Old Market Place where some will become semi-permanent.

The full plans, including further suggestions like improved lighting, are on show at Sudbury Town Hall.

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