A BAN on traffic flowing through East Street in Horsham was approved at a county council meeting this week, paving the way for a much-anticipated ‘café culture’.
A majority of traders on the bustling street had been campaigning for this change since the part-pedestrianistion was put in place.
On Monday the North Horsham County Local Committee (CLC) approved the head of Legal and Democratic Services to make and advertise an ‘experimental’ Traffic Regulation Order for a maximum period of 18 months.
The decision means East Street and Market Square will be completely traffic-free between 10.30am and 4pm.
Outside of these hours the area would be accessible for loading and unloading - spaces for which will be ‘amended’.
Blue badge parking bays will be relocated from East Street to the Carfax.
The proposals had strong backing as a recent survey conducted among East Street traders revealed the majority are in favour of closure. A total of 21 traders out of the street’s 32 responded to the consultation letter.
Those wanting some form of closure amounted to 18, but Beer Essentials, St Catherine’s Hospice and the Horsham Music shop all oppose a street closure - which it is believed would be widely welcomed by the public.
Gareth Jones, owner of Beer Essentials, said: “Eventually it will lead to my business failing.
“It’s going to have a negative impact on my sales as deliveries will be difficult.
“Times are hard enough as they are. I’m self employed, run a business and have enough to worry about.
“This is just one more thing to worry about. The budget’s coming up and the price of alcohol will go up, and we’re in the worst recession in living memory.”
He added: “As I understand it the Traffic Regulation Order can’t be made permanent if there’s an unresolved objection. And I will continue to object.”
A West Sussex County Council report of the decision summary said: “In 2009 the North Horsham CLC approved funding for works on a joint project with Horsham District Council to introduce a shared space environment in East Street, Horsham.
“Since completion of the shared space scheme the whole environment and shopping experience in East Street has changed considerably, with greater emphasis on pedestrian use.
“A core time prohibition of driving would remove any potential conflict between vehicles and pedestrians in this narrow street and allow the introduction of an on street café culture and themed events which has not been possible with the current arrangements.”
The council said the positioning of the loading and blue badge parking bays had been reviewed and amendments are recommended to remove potential conflict between pedestrians and vehicles.
It said minor amendments to the location of the bays could be made during the experimental period.
Blue badge parking bays would be relocated to the Carfax and results of the statutory advertising period would be reported back after six months.