Essex town’s parking debate begins

CONCERNS that parking problems are driving customers away from Thaxted have prompted talks between traders and the parish council.

Thaxted Traders Guild approached the council following the introduction of a number of traffic initiatives which they feel are making life difficult for both residents and employees.

The council has responded by moving to improve its communications with the traders by expanding the remit of its market committee.

The council sub committee, which is made up of councillors and traders, was formed in 2007 to save the town’s ailing market. It will now also serve as an open forum to provide traders with a platform to express their views about parking, and future parking policies, in the town.

Although the committee cannot make decisions, chairman of the Traders Guild, Will Brazier, hailed the latest development as a “step in the right direction”.

“We welcome the way the council is prepared to listen and consider the viewpoints of traders,” he said.

The Traders Guild has highlighted the building of the pull-outs and extension of double yellow lines in Town Street as evidence that the council has perhaps not always listened to their concerns.

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But Mr Brazier believes that the trader’s new stance in the market committee can provide a more effective link between the council and its parishioners.

“Issues surrounding high street parking are being raised by the residents who are using the shops. They are telling us that these changes have affected their ability to stop and shop,” he said. “The council perhaps have realised they haven’t got this line of communication – by listening to traders they are getting direct feedback from residents.

“Hopefully any future changes will be the ones that suit everybody.”

Chairman of the council’s market committee, Terry Frostick, said its new make-up would further encourage better communications between the traders and the council.

“The market committee has proved very effective and it was the natural progression to widen the remit,” he said.

“It will look at all the issues affecting trade which includes parking, but I will not let it get bogged down by just focusing on yellow lines and pull outs. Everyone will go in with an open mind and it will be a good forum for discussion.

“As a council we are trying to engage the community and give local empowerment.”

The first meeting of the new-look market committee is due to be held in September.

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