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Colchester High Street car ban trial to start in November
A TRIAL ban on cars using Colchester High Street will be launched in November.
Highways officers from Essex County Council have been carrying out checks in the town centre.
An engineer told a source the preliminary works were in preparation for a ban on all vehicles, except buses, bikes and taxis, using the High Street during the day.
County Hall has refused to release further details of the trial.
Opposition to a permanent ban during a consultation in March was so great county council bosses told Colchester Council it could only go ahead after a public inquiry.
A temporary ban is not expected to require an inquiry and will allow the authorities to make changes, if problems arise.
Businesses opposed the proposals because delivery vehicles would be barred from 10am to 6pm Monday to Saturday, while disabled campaigners said the loss of parking spaces would affect their ability to shop in the town centre.
Ron Levy, secretary of Colchester Retail/Business Association, said he believed a car ban would reduce congestion dramatically.
But he added: “If a trial scheme includes a ban on cars and delivery vehicles, then we would be extremely unhappy with that. We hope common sense will prevail.”
Michael Rance, of East Stockwell Street, opposes the plan because it would make his street a two-way road by moving bollards up to the junction with the High Street.
He said: “There is no great difference between the pavement and the road on East Stockwell Street, so in effect all our doors would open directly on to any traffic.”
Essex County Council was unable to say if delivery vehicles and blue badge holders would be able to use the High Street under the temporary ban.
In a statement, a spokesman said: “Essex County Council and Colchester Council are working together to deliver transport improvements in Colchester town centre. These improvements include proposals for traffic restrictions in the town centre.”