Haverhill High Street idea is an ‘insult’

A scene like this would no longer be possible should changes proposed to Haverhill High Street go ahead
A scene like this would no longer be possible should changes proposed to Haverhill High Street go ahead

A recommendation made by a senior Suffolk County Councillor that the pedestrianisation of Haverhill’s High Street should be dropped for the foreseeable future has been called ‘an insult to the town.’

Members of the Haverhill Area Working Party (HAWP) were united in their dismay last Thursday when they were told of the decision taken by Cllr Guy McGregor, the county council’s portfolio holder for highways.

Cllr McGregor attended a pedestrianisation meeting, and subsequent walk about, at Haverhill Arts Centre on October 12 with Haverhill town councillor Pat Hanlon, town clerk Will Austin, borough cllr Terry Clements and two senior officers from Suffolk County Council.

Taking at the HAWP meeting. Luke Barber, SCC’s project officer for Haverhill’s pedestrianisation, said: “After consideration of all the views presented, Guy McGregor believes the scheme to improve the environment should go ahead and pedestrianisation should not be considered any further at this time.”

The environment scheme, on which HAWP has £750,000 to spend, entails various enhancements to the High Street layout, traffic calming measures and an 18-month temporary traffic regulation order (TRO) only allowing delivery vehicles and blue badge holders access to the street between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.

Mr Austin said: “I’ve absolutely no idea of what his justification is for his decision.

“He can’t make a decision without providing a justification first. I think it’s an insult to the people of Haverhill.”

Cllr Derek Redhead said: “This nonsense has been going on to my knowledge for 12 years.

“We’ve had consultation, consultation and discussions with various officers at the county council, and where do we get, nowhere.”

Cllr Tim Marks also questioned Cllr McGregor’s view after a town council-led survey showed 70 per cent of respondents wanted pedestrianisation.

The proposed scheme and TRO must go to full public consultation and then SCC’s rights of way committee, probably in March, before any further steps can be taken.