Proposal to trial closing Market Square to traffic on some summer days

PUBLISHED: 06:00 18 October 2017

Market Square, Saffron Walden. Picture: ARCHANT

Market Square, Saffron Walden. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Cafe society could come to Saffron Walden in the summer with music in a pedestrianised Market Square if proposals from the town council get the go-ahead - but would this encourage people to come to the town or would it be, as one market trader has said: “The ruin of Saffron Walden.”

The plan is to stop traffic entering the Market Square on summer Fridays and Sundays, just as it is on market days throughout the year. The idea is that the square in summer could become a pleasant island of relaxation with tables and chairs for people to socialise and bands playing there to entertain shoppers and people just out to enjoy the sunshine in July and August.

The idea has come from a former Mayor of the town, Councillor Heather Asker, who was in office from 2015 to 2016.

Cllr Asker went on holiday to Tenby in South Wales this summer, saw the idea in practice and decided to bring it back to her own home town. She told the Reporter: “All I am proposing is that we consider this possibly for a trial over the August bank holiday.”

However the idea has not met with universal approval. Market trader, Jacqui Portway said the idea would be “The ruin of Saffron Walden.” She explained: “If you take away the half-hour parking in the market square, that will be the end of it for people in the town. They won’t be able to pop into the bank, to collect medication. We have already had our parking cut back.

“The economy of Saffron Walden is far more important than being based on someone going on holiday and staying there for a week.

“At Tenby holiday-makers are on their way to and from the beach and they sit in the cafes near the shops. People have got time to sit drinking endless cups of coffee. They come in and they rush round the charity shops looking for a bargain. The only people I see who have time to sit down are councillors. I don’t know what they do for a living.”

What do you think: Cafe Society or Chaos? Email editor@saffronwalden-reporter.co.uk

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