NEW RULES CLOSING THE THOROUGHFARE TO ALMOST ALL TRAFFIC CAME INTO FORCE IN JULY 2020
this is an ‘experimental TRO ‘ which means it can be tweaked if it found not to be appropriate in any part, before being confirmed finally after (I think) 18 months. So much more sensible than the standard TROs which are set in stone and cannot be altered. (See further down for the steps by which we got to this point).
The main provisions are:
- Prohibition of motor vehicles is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This affects all vehicles. Drivers who may historically have accessed the road before 10am or after 4pm to visit the local shops, newsagents, bank, pharmacy or similar will be unable to do. These drivers will need to park in the nearby car parks and walk a short distance.
- Access for all vehicles to load at any time, with a loading time of 15 minutes. This means people purchasing or delivering large items such as beds, white-goods, carpets, boxes of books, or delivering goods etc. can access the length of road to load or unload these items to their vehicle regardless of size
- Permits can be issued for residents and traders to access off street parking, such as private driveways.
- The historic provision for disabled badge holders to park in the Thoroughfare on Tuesday and Thursday between 1pm and 4pm has been removed. This was supported by the Suffolk Coastal Disability Forum who considered that the entitlement disadvantaged more people than it advantaged. For a start, few disabled drivers were aware it was restricted to these hours. Secondly, there is substantially more off-street car parking in the area since the restriction was introduced in 1995 and the intention is that blue badge holders can use the Oak Lane or Hamblin Road car parks: the committee proposed that Suffolk Coastal should increase its number of disabled parking bays.
(Although Suffolk Highways had in the past issued permits to disabled drivers to access the Thoroughfare at any time, this was revoked in 1995 and there had been no official provision for this since.)
- There are standard exemptions for building, demolition, road repair, utility repair, reading utility meters, emergency services, security vehicles.
- During the lockdown in summer 2020 Woodbridge Town Council put a temporary blanket No Entry of any traffic whatsoever in place between 10.00 -14.00 hours. This was on top of the TRO and has now ended.
The story up to now
UPDATE: May 2019 Change to the Thoroughfare TRO was decided by public consultation at the end of 2017. Rough designs had been created but Woodbridge was told we would have wait a year on account of the exigencies of CPE (decriminalisation of parking). This, in turn, I am told has been held up at national level by Brexit.However I have been working with highways officers since early this year, and in March was able to get their assurance that this project was now going ahead, funded with my Highways Budget. I am now waiting for the formal design to be produced, and have been reminding officers.
UPDATE: July 2018 Woodbridge 20mph scheme progression Having had a preliminary design and costings drawn up, I have met with Suffolk Highways to discuss the progression of Woodbridge’s 20mph zoning. After discussion with the officers it looks like I will be able to include the Thoroughfare scheme (separated because of decriminalisation of transport issues) which will be funded from my Highways budget
Update: December 2017 Recently, the Thoroughfare Working Group held a public consultation on proposed changes to the Traffic Regulation Order in The Thoroughfare. (full details below) A stall was staffed in Woodbridge Library for seven days and with an additional presence in the Thoroughfare. Additional questionnaires were handed out to all Thorouhfare residents and traders.
The results of this initial consultation have now been collated and show that option 2b was the most popular (ie: No access at any time except permit holders and loading/unloading. This will include disabled drivers. This result has the backing of the Disability Action Suffolk Forum.)
The minimum lorry weight restriction will be removed. The new restrictions will be in force 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Parking will only be allowed in signed bays, which will be better marked. The signage both on the approach to the Thoroughfare, and in the road, will be much simpler and will show it as a pedestrian zone.
The next stage of the consultation will ensure that all those that may be affected by the proposed changes can have their say before we move to the final stage formal TRO consultation next year by Suffolk County Council.
If you would like to comment on these changes please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Implications of Proposed Option 2B
- Currently the prohibition of motor vehicles is between 10 am and 4 pm, Monday to Friday. This can lead to confusion and difficulty in reading all provisions while approaching the Thoroughfare. The proposed prohibition of motor vehicles will be 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This will affect all vehicles. Drivers who may have accessed the road before 10am or after 4pm to visit the local shops, newsagents, bank, pharmacy or similar will be unable to do. These drivers will need to park in the nearby car parks and walk a short distance.
- Currently vehicles over 3.5T can load and unload at any time. Vehicles under 3.5T can only load and unload before 10am and after 4pm. The proposals will allow access for all vehicles to load at any time. This means people purchasing or delivering large items such as beds, whitegoods, carpets, boxes of books etc. can access the length of road to load or unload these items to their vehicle regardless of size (3.5T is the size of a medium delivery van such as a Transit or Sprinter, vehicles under 3.5T are typically domestic cars).
- Currently permits can be issued for residents and traders to access off street parking, such as private driveways – this will remain. Additional permit holders can be nominated such as taxis and funeral vehicles. However these will need to be written in to the new Traffic Regulation Order.
- Currently disabled badge holders are exempt from the prohibition of motor vehicles on Tuesday and Thursday between 1pm and 4pm. This provision will be removed. There is substantially more off-street car parking in the area since the restriction was introduced in 1995 and the intention is that blue badge holders can use the Oak Lane or Hamblin Road car parks. Suffolk Highways have in the past issued permits to disabled drivers to access the Thoroughfare at any time. However there has been no official provision for this since it was revoked in 1995. The issuing of these permits will cease. It is hoped that mitigation (eg perhaps issuing one or two permits to a local taxi firm) will do away with the necessity for any other access.
- There are standard exemptions for building, demolition, road repair, utility repair, reading utility meters, emergency services, security vehicles. These exemptions will remain.
Come to Woodbridge Library, 25th September to 1 October, and help decide the best way forward for Woodbridge’s Thoroughfare.
The Thoroughfare – Woodbridge’s vibrant retail heart – has had increasing problems with traffic and parking in recent years. Residents, visitors, shoppers and traders have all expressed concern
Our Problem: is that both access to and parking in Woodbridge Thoroughfare is governed by a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO). It’s complicated, years out of date, and no longer fit for purpose. The traffic signs we can put up are legally prescribed by the TRO. This means they are very complicated too.
The TRO no longer reflects the needs and usage of people in the Thoroughfare.
The Solution: We need to simplify the Thoroughfare TRO and make sure it reflects the current needs of people in Woodbridge.
We can then have simpler signs.
The Thoroughfare Working Group has worked hard for ten months looking at the needs and requirements of traders, residents, visitors and shoppers. We have come up with three options:
Now we want you to fill in a questionnaire to tell us which option you think will work best for everyone who uses the Woodbridge Thoroughfare. (Remember, at the moment, we are interested in which option you prefer. We will get to enforcement later.)
So, this is a lot of work. Why not just leave things as they are? This is not an option:
- “All we need’s a Traffic Warden”. Traffic wardens were abolished THIRTEEN YEARS ago under the Traffic Management Act 2004, which passed the responsibility for enforcing on-street violations to the police.
- Off-street parking in Woodbridge carparks is enforced by parking attendants employed by SCDC. Many people confuse these with traffic wardens, but SCDC parking attendants could only tackle on-street violations if and when our District Council decriminalises parking and takes responsibility for it
- Suffolk Coastal will finally be taking over responsibility for on-street parking in 2019
- However, if Woodbridge does not make changes to the current Thoroughfare TRO, the current level of non-enforcement will not continue. Unless we decide changes, the current TRO lines etc will just be repainted and all the current regulations will be enforced as they currently stand by SCDC when it takes over from the police.
- SCDC will not be able to cherry-pick the dead or unnecessary regulations. As the TRO is significantly out of date this could cause major problems.
There are other Considerations to think about when looking at the options:
ACCESS: Research by the TWG has discovered that a significant number of residential homes and retail properties only have access from the Thoroughfare.
CHANGING DELIVERY/RETAIL PATTERNS: when the current TRO was designed, there were no Tesco/Ocado/Amazon deliveries. Retailers would receive weekly deliveries from large lorries. When it came into force, Woodbridge had a Wednesday half-day. Now many traders open 7 days a week,
DISABLED ACCESS: a summer 2017 survey by the Suffolk Coastal Disability Forum disclosed that the access lost to disabled people by on-street parking in the Thoroughfare outweighed the access gained by disabled on-street parking
WIDTH of PARKING BAYS: one marked bay in the Thoroughfare (the ex-Sant-Studio bay ) is too narrow for modern vehicles
INCREASE IN SIZE of VEHICLES: modern cars are very much wider than cars were two or three decades ago. This means that parking has greater impact on pedestrians and other traffic