At the Town & Community Committee meeting last week the Town Clerk announced that he had requested a temporary road closure of Market Place on Market day, on Thursday 23 September however Councillors recommended that this proposal be put on hold after they questioned whether this had gone through the correct ratification by the Council. The Town Clerk was unable to confirm whether this had happened and he would have to look into it further.
The proposal was put forward in June 2020 by Councillor Sarah Miller to aid the high street recovery and to allow for social distancing. A vote at that meeting was recorded of 7 votes for to 2 against and it was agreed to investigate further the closing of in front of the Town Hall or from Joules to Facy.
In September 2020 the progress report stated on the Town & Community Committee Agenda that this was “still at investigation phase – before any final decision is made a further meeting of HTC needs to be held to move this forward or not and how? Research would need to be undertaken and a questionnaire would go to all retailers and businesses that could be impacted in the town. All views then being taken into consideration. There was work to do on methodology of other towns who had done this and how they measured its success.” This status remained the same for 9 months until May 2021. A retailer has told us that this research questionnaire has never been completed.
The May 21 progress report stated that at the meeting on 12 March at Market Working Group it was agreed that a trial should take place on a 4th Thursday of the month with the understanding that it is done correctly with road closures signposted and advertised in a timely manner, Marshalls available, Fire and Police services notified and no cancellation of bus services. Application for a trial road closure applied for. Temporary road closure applied for. There was no inclusion of this decision at the Events Committee Sub Group of the Town & Community meeting on 12 March 2021 minutes.
In June 2021, the minutes of the Town & Community Meeting stated that the date would be moved from July to August.
Many town centre businesses are against the closing of Market Place as it will affect trade.