Calls renewed for bollard to stop motorists driving wrong way down pedestrianised shopping area
PUBLISHED: 11:00 24 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:13 24 March 2018
Reports of illegally parked cars and vehicles driving the wrong way down a pedestrianised shopping area have left business owners fearing for their customer's safety.
Shop owners in Lowestoft’s High Street, who describe the issue as ‘fly parking’, have told stories of drivers regularly disregarding the safety of pedestrians by parking on both sides of the street’s pedestrian zone, driving the wrong way down the street for a cut through, and performing illegal U-turns.
Backed by Lowestoft Vision - the town’s business improvement district - the High Street Traders Association and Suffolk county councillor for the Gunton ward Keith Patience, calls were made for a bollard to be installed at the entrance of the pedestrian zone at the triangle market two years ago.
Progress has since stalled after the group was told by Suffolk County Council (SCC) that funding would have to be sourced locally, believed to be around £10,000 due to the requirement of a Traffic Regulation Order.
Lowestoft Vision chairman Danny Steel expressed his dismay at the lack of action with the group lobbying for a solution since 2015.
He said: “The High Street Traders Association offered a solution that many of the business on the triangle supported. The idea was to install a retractable, lockable bollard that all the traders would have a key for to allow deliveries.
“I am convinced that at some point someone will be seriously injured or killed by a vehicle and then maybe something will be done.”
The group claim a collapsable bollard would enforce the High Street’s closure to all vehicles between 10.30am and 4pm, and reduce illegal parking.
However with funding unavailable from the county council, the figure quoted for the bollard is too high to be met by local businesses.
Mr Patience said he would love to find a solution and would be happy to meet with traders to discuss the problem again.
A spokesman from SCC said: “The option of installing a collapsible bollard is being considered. The funding for this will need to be sourced locally.
“A decision needs to be made between Lowestoft Vision and local businesses over the management of the bollard once in place. We cannot install the bollard until this has been agreed.”
A police spokesman said that enforcement action must be balanced against the threat and risk caused by other priority work and encouraged drivers to park legally.
Business owners reaction
One business owner on the High Street voiced his concerns about the effect of driver’s disregarding the rules of the road.
Duncan Adams, owner of Dunx Cycles, said: “In the last three years I have had three of my customers walk out of my shop and almost get knocked down by a speeding car.
“The street is being used as a car park by the public and as a shortcut for taxi drivers, and it should be enforced.
“I want the promise of the bollard to be honoured and I am very confident that will stop all illegal parking and everyone using it as a cut-through.”
Lowestoft town councillor Alice Taylor said the council will watch the parking issues as they explore options for the Triangle Market.
She said: “In May 2017 the Triangle Market was transferred to the Lowestoft Town Council and since then the council has looked into ways to manage the parking issues.
“We have been told the bollard will be very expensive, mostly because of the location on a public road and all of the consultations needed.”