WESTCLIFF’S Hamlet Court Road could be part pedestrianised as part of the regeneration of what was once known as the “Bond Street’ of Southend, a Labour councillor has mooted.
Maxine Sadza, Labour councillor for Milton ward, reportedly raised the idea during a council policy and resources scrutiny committee meeting in March.
The scheme could see a part of Hamlet Court Road given pedestrian priority, to increase footfall and access and create a what has been termed a “café culture” in a road that has seen many independent bars, and shops opening in recent years.
Andy Atkinson, chairman of the Milton Society, reportedly supported a scheme of pedestrian priority, commenting: “You’d give the street back to the people. You’d have increased footfall. You’d make it much more accessible. Maybe businesses could open up onto the street, so you could have café culture.”
He added: “Obviously there has to be consultation with traders, but from our point of view there are so many examples around the country of successfully pedestrianised and shared space schemes that we think the road is currently up for it.”
Gaynor Solly, who recently formed the Westcliff Partnership with a view to creating a Business Improvement District for the road, was undecided about the idea of pedestrianisation.
She was reported as commenting: “They can be a mixed blessing.
“I feel safer in a street with cars coming and going because it polices itself more.”
A resident who off lives off Hamlet Court Road, and did not want to be named, was not in favour of the scheme: “I much preferred Southend High Street when it had a road running straight through it.
“Part of what makes Hamlet Court Road vibrant is the traffic and flow of movement” he commented.
Westcliff resident Gary Smart, 35, was also not in favour: “pedestrianisation would do nothing for the local community.
“Hamlet Court Road is already brilliant, it doesn’t need this scheme. The council should stop meddling and sort out issues that affect us all, like crime and drugs.”
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