From today the Government has announced that non essential retail stores can re open as long as social distancing and other safety measures are in place.
This mean that a number of shops in Felixstowe that have been closed since the beginning of lockdown are planning to re open this week including Peacocks, Russell Smiths, Coes, Clarkes and Poor Richards Books.
But due to the problems of inevitable queuing because of continuing social distance restrictions, Felixstowe Town Council are planning to try and completely pedestrianise the shared space between certain hours, something that was originally pushed for by the Community when the High Street was first paved over.
It won’t happen immediately – but it is something the Council is working towards – and they hope to get a grant of £25,000 to help with signage.
But for those used to driving into town please note – that previous free parking bays in the town centre car parks are no longer available – and the Town now has a number of ‘eager’ traffic wardens who take no prisoners.
The Mayor of Felixstowe, Councillor Mark Jepson, has released a statement saying :
“We will be pleased to see familiar doors opening for business once again and encourage our residents to show their support by buying locally. We will be introducing several changes in the Felixstowe Town Centre and seafront. As soon as we can legally do so the Hamilton Road Shared Space will be made pedestrian friendly with traffic restrictions in place to assist people to observe social distancing rules and our businesses to trade effectively. Deliveries will have access outside these times and emergency vehicles will always have access. Blue badge parking will remain available nearby on Cobbold Road and other locations.”
Other plans include signage to help direct safe shopping and movement in key locations. Public conveniences will remain open with appropriate facilities, information and government guidelines on hand washing. Businesses will be implementing their own arrangements for protecting staff and customers. Visitors to Felixstowe are encouraged to use cycle, walk, or if arriving by car visitors to park in the nearest available car park as there will be restricted on street parking availability.
East Suffolk Council is overseeing local actions, which are being supported by Suffolk County Council Highways and East Suffolk Norse. East Suffolk Council’s Assistant Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Cllr Steve Wiles, said “We are supporting a range of measures across the district and working with partners to ensure our towns can reopen and trade safely. The most important thing is we work together to keep ourselves and each other safe while out and about enjoying our lovely towns as they re-open for business.”
Other measures include an increased provision of litter bins and improved street cleansing with everyone being encourages to play their part in keeping the town and beach litter-free and clean. In July when we expect more cafes and restaurants to open, we are looking at how we can make better use of outdoor spaces to maximise opportunities for them to trade profitably and maintain safe social distancing measures for customers. Felixstowe Town Council will continue to work with businesses and stakeholders to review and adapt measures as appropriate.