Poll: Should Bury St Edmunds’ ‘beautiful’ town centre become a car free zone?

David Nettleton is calling for Angel Hill/Cornhill in Bury St Edmunds to be pedestrianised.

David Nettleton is calling for Angel Hill/Cornhill in Bury St Edmunds to be pedestrianised. - Credit: Gregg Brown

The banishing of cars from the historic core of Bury St Edmunds has been proposed.

St Edmundsbury Borough Councillor David Nettleton has put forward the idea, which would see Angel Hill and Cornhill car parks closed and a pedestrianised town centre created.

Shoppers visiting the town yesterday expressed support, with the “dangerous” Angel Hill road across the Abbey Gate and the “confusing” part-time pedestrian zone criticised.

Mr Nettleton, an independent councillor for the Risbygate ward, said: “They should pedestrianise the lot, Angel Hill and Cornhill, and banish the car from the town centre.

“There is no point mucking around with the part-time zone on Abbeygate Street. They (cars) are an eyesore and they should not be allowed to park in the medieval core.”

The proposal would see the two Suffolk County Council town-centre car parks closed, but Mr Nettleton, who represents the Tower Division on the county council, believes there is already enough parking outside the historic centre. He added: “Footfall would go up and it would be good for businesses.”

Maggie Cooper has lived in Bury for 35 years. She spoke to the EADT while shopping yesterday.

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She said: “I think it would be a wonderful idea. As long as they provide other ways of getting in, a park and ride maybe, it would be better for shoppers.

“Older people who may not be too sprightly would not have to contend with cars. It would make the town safer and more attractive.”

Terry Greenacre and his wife Irene, from Chedburgh, visit twice a week. He said: “I am all for it. The Angel Hill is a beautiful place to visit and the cars take away from it.”

Mrs Greenacre added: “We bring the grandchildren here in the summer and that road (Angel Hill), it is dangerous. There is a lot of traffic going up and down and kids running in and out of the (Abbey) gate, they often have to slam the breaks on.”

Mark Cordell, is chief executive of the Bury Business Improvement District (BID), called OurBuryStEdmunds.

He said: “Anything that improves the look of Bury needs to be considered, but I don’t think it is simple as ‘more people will come if it is pedestrianised’.

“If there was not enough car parking, how would they get to the town and visit in the first place? There are a lot of transport implications across the whole of Bury by closing roads.”

He said the BID were in discussions about the part-time pedestrian system on Abbeygate Street, and that any attempt to expand the pedestrian zone would have to be done in full consultation.

St Edmundsbury Borough Mayor Robert Everitt said while he could support a fulltime pedestrian zone on Abbeygate Street, Mr Nettleton’s proposal was not feasible.

“It is something we would never consider trying without the appropriate consultation, and I’m not sure that the majority of drivers, shopkeepers and dare I say it pedestrians would support it,” he said.