Market square to be vehicle-free

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PARKING on Brandon’s Market Hill is a thing of the past after a council put an end to a long-running saga.

Suffolk County Council’s Rights of Way Committee agreed on Tuesday to ban any vehicles parking in the town centre space.

The meeting heard from various parties, including a report from Cllr Bill Bishop, of Forest Heath District Council and Suffolk County Council, who objected to the ban.

Cllr Tony Simmons, of Forest Heath District Council and Brandon Town Council, spoke at the meeting.

Speaking afterwards, he said: “It’s a great result for democracy.

“It’s taken three years to achieve this and against considerable opposition from people with visible interests.”

The long-discussed move has split traders and councillors for years but a parish poll in 2010 saw 91 per cent of voters supporting a ban.

However, doubt was cast over the poll as it recorded only a 12 per cent turnout.

But Cllr Simmons said: “The council has taken notice of what the people wanted and the parish poll has shown to not be a waste of time.”

In his report, Cllr Bishop raised fears that imminent changes to the community centre and Old Forest School meant that the town was at risk of being short of parking.

It said: “While I am very pleased that some work has been carried out to smarten up the Market Hill, I ask you to help Brandon by keeping some parking on this civic space.”

The committee also heard of a number of near-miss collisions with pedestrians in Market Hill. The town council has had to spend £8,000 on repairing damaged lamp posts since 2007.

New street furniture installed in February this year has already been struck twice by vehicles, according to a report presented to members.

The ban will be in force from next month once signage is put in place.