Summary of pedestrianisation scheme
We want Braintree town centre to be a more attractive and accessible area that contributes to the attraction of the town centre whilst striking a better balance between the needs of different users of the space. That's why we are planning to pedestrianise part of the town centre, meaning that vehicle access will be restricted for most of the town centre which extends from the top of the High Street (near Sandpit Lane) through to Great Square and into a larger open space at Market Place.
The ambition is to create a safe, flexible and social space which can be adapted and used to host community events, markets and social activities. These attractions will draw people in and keep them entertained for longer generating more trade for shops, restaurants and other local businesses. It will also mean much-needed improvements to the condition of the current road and pavements.
The scheme was given the green light at our meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday 18th December, including proposed plans to create a contraflow bus and cycle lane along Fairfield Road to facilitate the removal of buses from the pedestrianised roads, as well as works to facilitate new disabled bays and permit parking around the town including Bank Street and St Michael's Lane.
It will mean an investment of over £2.5 million which will transform the character, atmosphere and appearance of the town centre. Investment of £750,000 has been promised from both Braintree District Council and Essex County Council to contribute to the project and Department of Transport have funded £1million towards the scheme. You can read more about this in our news section.
You can download a PDF map of the areas that will be pedestrianised.
This scheme comes after 76% of residents and businesses (out of a total of 1,584) showed support for the project. Those in favour felt that making the streets exclusive to pedestrians would improve the public space, make it safer and encourage retail and event opportunities. You can find out more details on the results of 2018's consultation webpage.
We also held a second round of consultation which gave you the opportunity to shape what the pedestrianised areas could look like. The top things people felt were key to the town centre regeneration were trees, CCTV, planting, Wi-Fi and water features. The top ranked events people said they want to see were music, seasonal and family themed. You can view the full results on our website.
What are the next steps?
We are currently working up the final design concepts building in comments and feedback from the consultation. We will share these with residents when they are finalised.
Now that the Bank Street and Fairfield Road works are complete, we are now looking at the construction work taking place in the main town centre (High Street, Market Place and Great Square).
As part of the works to prepare the High Street for changes, we will be diverting the existing service road to the rear of The Bull. This will instead run to the south of the existing water feature at Market Place and will free up the much larger area to the north of the fountain. The construction of the new road will not affect deliveries to the service yard.
The removal of the two bus stops that are currently on Braintree High Street will be the next step as part of the project. We are working closely with Essex County Council and bus companies on a final date when these will be closed permanently. We will keep you updated prior to these changes taking place.
How can I keep up to date?
We are issuing regular email newsletters to update you as the project moves forward, as well as updates on the Manor Street regeneration project where work is already underway. You can sign up for free via this link.