AFTER three years of campaigning a parking ban has transformed Market Hill in Brandon into a tranquil and spacious ‘social hub’ for the townspeople.
A traffic regulation order came into force on Monday August 13, banning vehicles from the paved area and bringing to an end its long-running use as a car park by those visiting the town.
Brandon Town Council Chairman, Reg Silvester said: “It’s been a long, hard, struggle - three years from beginning to end.
“It’s a triumph for democracy in 2010 the parish poll was overwhelmingly in favour ”
The results of the poll held in 2010 showed that 91 per cent of those who responded were in favour of traffic being banned from the area.
Cllr Silvester said that these views were reiterated when shopkeepers were questioned in preparation for the town’s bid to become a Portas Pilot Town.
Val Towler, 61, and Janette Leech, 69, both of Brandon were relaxing on Market Hill on Tuesday.
They said: “It’s wonderful, marvellous, you could not walk about before it was so crowded.
“We hope that more business put tables and chairs out and when we have events they can be held here - it was never supposed to be parking space there’s ample car parking in the town.”
However not everyone is pleased to see the changes Nolan Guthrie owner of Mr G’s Bowling Centre and Michelle Woodley of Livewell Suffolk both expressed concern that the changes will have a negative effect on local businesses by limiting parking in the town centre.
Forest Heath District Councillor Tony Simmons and Cllr Silvester opposed this view saying that having an area where people could congregate would attract people to the town, make them stay longer and help to improve its reputation.
The banning of parking on Market Hill is the first stage of the Total Brandon project, which will also see the disused school on Market Hill turned into a community centre, with the aim of creating a civic hub.