A new look town centre may be on the cards as residents were consulted about plans to improve Haywards Heath on Tuesday.
With more and more drivers using the relief road to avoid South Road, the potential ways to improve traffic routes, sightliness and public transport in the town are being considered.
West Sussex county councillor for Haywards Heath East Stephen Hillier said: “We want to improve the economy of the town, the traffic and make it a nicer place for pedestrians.
“This is an opportunity for consultation, a thousand brains are better than one.
“We’ve got significant investment being made into the area and we need to make sure that the town’s infrastructure and economy really benefit from it.”
Public consultation continues until December 10 in an online survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/HHTransport.
“We’re asking people their thoughts. We could introduce one way systems, fully pedestrianise the Broadway, improve cycle routes or move some community facilities into the town centre, such as the library, to make it a concentrated community area,” Cllr Hillier added.
Business associations, societies and community groups were asked to list important issues in the town before a consultation at Clair Hall on Tuesday, at which residents voted on the importance of each issue.
“It’s lead by the community,” Cllr Hillier added.
“We want to secure better shops, get more people in the town centre and make it look nicer.”
Haywards Heath residents agreed there are problems with traffic congestion in and approaching the town centre, lorries travelling through the town centre, parking, pedestrian routes, unattractive streets, poor cycle routes and poor signage.
Paul Rider, who was at the consultation, said: “The main problem is traffic and what to do with it, the layout designed is 150 years old.
“I also think tree planting would improve the town. We need to make it a nicer place for pedestrians.”
Many agreed with installing more real time bus signs, improving landscapes by planting trees, installing public art and adding cycle routes.
The prospect of pedestrianising parts or all of South Road or The Broadway was more contentious, as many supported the idea but many rejected it.
Installing one way systems in the town centre also split opinion.
However, many residents did not agree with stopping through traffic on Heath Road or making The Broadway, Sydney Road and Oathall Road one way systems.
Consultants are measuring traffic and pedestrian flows around Haywards Heath to help decide the best way to improve the town.
Cllr Hillier added: “I think it’s a very exciting time for the town.
“We are keen to get this right and happily welcome the input of local residents and businesses.”