Braintree District Council gives green light to pedestrianise part of Braintree town centre

Braintree District Council gives green light to pedestrianise part of Braintree town centre

Plans to pedestrianise part of Braintree town centre were given the green light at a meeting of Cabinet this week.

At a Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday 18th December, Councillors agreed to take the next steps towards ambitious plans for pedestrianising Market Place, Great Square and most of the High Street.

This will mean that vehicle access will be restricted for most of the town centre* and allow for long-term improvements to the roads and pavements, opportunities for more events and markets to bring more visitors into the town and creating new and enhancing existing public spaces to make the town a more attractive place to shop, visit and socialise.

Investment of £750,000 has been approved by Braintree District Council to contribute to the project as part of its capital budget funding. A decision on the Department of Transport bid of up to £1million towards the scheme is expected to be announced at the end of December. Investment from Essex County Council, who manage the highway, to support the scheme has already been promised.

Cabinet also approved proposals to hold a further public consultation to give residents and local businesses the opportunity to say what they would like to see in their town centre which will influence designs for the pedestrianisation scheme. People are being encouraged to take part in an online survey to have their say and influence the plans. The survey can be found at www.braintree.gov.uk/yourtown.

A series of engagement events will be held in the New Year for residents, local businesses and visitors to come along and tell us what they would like to see in their town. Further details will be communicated in the New Year.

Cllr Tom Cunningham, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure at Braintree District Council, said: “The council is determined to support the town centre with the huge challenges and online competition it faces, and this scheme opens up a unique opportunity to relook at the way we use the space. Getting businesses and residents talking to us about the potential future of the town centre is vital in helping us develop options for the scheme. The next consultation phase is an opportunity for residents and local businesses to shape and influence the next chapter of the town centre. We need to build on our vision and get everyone talking about how we can evolve the town for the better.”

The Council will be consulting and working with residents, local businesses, market traders and visitors throughout the development of the project. Talks have already begun with local businesses and public transport companies about carefully planning details around access for shop deliveries, emergency service vehicles and highway impact, including bus travel.

Responses from the consultation will be taken into account when designing the new scheme. Physical work in the town centre is set to begin in spring 2020 and expected to be concluded by winter 2020/21.