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Cars could be banned in High Street trial scheme
8:00am Friday 20th July 2012 in News
A TRIAL car ban to break the deadlock over the future of Colchester’s High Street could be on the cards.
Highways officers at Essex County Council are considering stopping most vehicles from using the road for up to six months.
It is hoped the temporary ban would avoid the need for a public inquiry.
Jeremy Lucas, a county councillor for Colchester, has convinced Derrick Louis, the county councillor responsible for highways, to investigate whether a trial would help make the plans a reality.
Mr Lucas believes a temporary ban would allay many of the fears raised and allow the county and borough councils to deal with changes should any problems emerge.
He said: “The trouble has been that every time a proposal has been put forward, there have been very justifiable concerns about the effect on businesses or the disabled.
“What I want to do is to get started – a temporary scheme doesn’t need to go through the full consultation process.
“Even if there are still objections, we will be able to look at what has happened rather than what could happen.
“Some of the fears that might not be well justified will have also been eliminated. I’m hoping Derrick and his officers can come to that conclusion and give it a go.”
Mr Lucas said it was up to highways experts whether delivery vehicles and blue badge holders, which would be banned from the High Street under the original proposals, would be permitted for at least part of the trial.
Mr Louis said: “We want to ensure we make the right decision for Colchester.
“One option is the possibility of a flexible trial scheme. Nothing has been agreed at this stage, but we hope to be able to announce the next steps in the coming weeks.”
Ron Levy, secretary of Colchester Retail/Business Association, which has led the opposition to vehicle bans, said he would welcome a trial, if delivery vehicles could use the High Street.
He said: “Our argument has always been that because the volume of delivery vehicles is so small, it would have no impact on the plan to reduce congestion.
“If a trial makes the point you can do this without putting the survival of businesses at risk, that’s worthwhile.”