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Town centre pedestrianisation row escalates, as second petition is launched

PUBLISHED: 12:29 01 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:31 01 August 2019

Sheringham gift shop owner Jane Stubbs and her daughter-in-law Charlotte, who have launched a petition urging the town council to revisit the idea of pedestrianising part of High Street. 
Picture: KAREN BETHELL

Sheringham gift shop owner Jane Stubbs and her daughter-in-law Charlotte, who have launched a petition urging the town council to revisit the idea of pedestrianising part of High Street. Picture: KAREN BETHELL

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Sheringham Town Council has hit back at criticism, after being accused of failing to listen to residents and traders' concerns over a long-running pedestrianisation debate.

Sheringham shoppers enjoying a traffic-free High Street, which has been closed to vehicles since the sinkhole opened up in the road two months ago.
Picture: KAREN BETHELLSheringham shoppers enjoying a traffic-free High Street, which has been closed to vehicles since the sinkhole opened up in the road two months ago. Picture: KAREN BETHELL

Jane Stubbs, who owns High Street gift shop Creativity, launched a petition with her daughter-in-law Charlotte to make the tables and chairs placed in the road after its closure due to the sinkhole a more permanent fixture with a pedestrianisation scheme.

Hundreds have since backed the petition, with 10 neighbouring traders also collecting signatures.

Sheringham shoppers enjoying a traffic-free High Street, which has been closed to vehicles since the sinkhole opened up in the road two months ago.
Picture: KAREN BETHELLSheringham shoppers enjoying a traffic-free High Street, which has been closed to vehicles since the sinkhole opened up in the road two months ago. Picture: KAREN BETHELL

However after a second, counter-petition was launched on Facebook saying pedestrianisation would have an adverse effect on Sheringham, the town council decided to respond to what it says are "unfair and unhelpful" comments claiming councillors are "ignoring the will of the people,"

It has issued a statement listing its reasons for not going ahead with a pedestrianisation trial, saying Norfolk County Council highways department would not approve closing High Street to vehicles as traffic would need to be redirected under a low bridge, causing congestion and access problems for delivery lorries.

The temporary nature of the proposed scheme would also lead to safety concerns, the statement went on to say, with tables and chairs restricting access to emergency vehicles.

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"A false image of what pedestrianisation would look like was presented to the public," it added, citing further concerns including a potential loss of trade, poor access for people with disabilities and a potential increase in the number of food outlets.

Instead, a town centre development group is working to source funding for creating a "pedestrian zone" with widened pavements, three narrowed "gate-effect" entrances to the town, improved signage, cycle racks, and a number of "mini parklet" green spaces.

"We want to consider all the different sectors' needs and voices and not just those who shout the loudest," the statement said.

Mrs Stubbs, who says traders have collected "several hundred" signatures, urged the town council to revisit the idea of pedestrianisation.

"I walk down the area where traffic has been redirected because of the sinkhole every day and I haven't noticed any difference at all," she said. "The bin lorries can get under the bridge and we would just like a small part of High Street to be made traffic-free during the summer holidays, when this area of the town is absolute chaos."

To read the town council statement in full, visit www.sheringhamtowncouncil.gov.uk

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