Harleston residents to be surveyed on Covid changes to town centre
People in Harleston are to be given a say on access to the town centre, following months of discontent between residents, business owners and council officials.
In June, a number of precautionary measures were introduced by South Norfolk Council to make the town centre Covid secure, including the partial closure of a number of major roads.
Following uproar from business owners – who insisted that the changes had drastically reduced their footfall – the council has agreed to commission an independent survey in order to gauge the mood of people who live and work in the town.
The initial changes were part of the Shop with Confidence campaign – a joint venture by South Norfolk Council and Redenhall with Harleston Town Council.
It saw several roads, including The Thoroughfare, Church Street and Swan Lane, either partially or completely closed in order to make the town centre safe to shop in during the height of the pandemic.
The changes, however, split opinion in the town, with Andrew Lawrence, who runs Budgens in London Road, likening them to the Berlin Wall, while Fiona Smith (pictured), a local resident with several auto-immune conditions, told the Diss Express in July that it was “sad [that shopkeepers] couldn’t see the bigger picture” as the changes were “something that vulnerable people need”.
Since then, a number of adjustments have been made, but access still remains a hotly contentious issue.
All Harleston residents and businesses will receive a letter in the next week, letting them know how they can take part in the survey, with the council encouraging as many people as possible to have their say.
A spokesman for South Norfolk Council said: “The aim of the survey is to help the council determine the level of support for any longer-term changes to the town.
“Traffic marshals are currently in place to provide motorists with advice and directions, and ensure compliance with the traffic restrictions, however, their presence cannot continue indefinitely.”