‘This is our vision’: Wisbech Town Council plans to crack down on bad parking with car-free Market Place redesign

These are the proposed plans to transform Wisbech Market Place, illustrated by Peter Humphrey Associ

These are the proposed plans to transform Wisbech Market Place, illustrated by Peter Humphrey Associates - Credit: Archant

Cracking down on illegal and poor parking is the focus of Wisbech Town Council’s ‘car-free, continental redesign’ of the Market Place – though it’s yet to be costed.

To resolve the persistent parking problem - whilst making the area ‘safer and more attractive’ according to councillors – the 2018 town survey, aims to pedestrianise the majority of the Market Place – barring entry completely between 10am and 4pm.

“Cars will be completely removed from the Market Place, including those of market traders (who will benefit from arranged parking elsewhere)”, the Wisbech Town Centre Survey 2018 states.

“Although the High Street / Hill Street route will not be part of the pedestrianisation, bollards will be installed to prevent pavement and poor parking.

“The only parking allowed there will be disabled parking, the report continues, but there will be no reduction of the number of bays available for disabled use.

During a social media Q & A, Wisbech Town Council leader Sam Hoy was asked about the cost.

She said: “We won’t have the budget for this and don’t want to raise tax so we will use some Section 106 money we have from developers and then would have to borrow which we can do at a low interest rate.

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“This is a concept. If people like the concept then we can go further.

“If people don’t like it we go back to the drawing board.

“There are plenty of options available but it would be useful to know what people actually want first.”

Another town councillor, Andrew Lynn, said: “We are putting this out for the people of Wisbech to put their views across before we spend their money.

“We have put in a hell of a lot of work to make Wisbech Market Place a much better place to be, trying to accommodate everything we are told by Wisbech people that they would like to see.

“We will even be in the Market Place giving the people who are there a chance to share their opinions.”

As well as banning cars, the council proposes to “refresh, rejuvenate and renew” the area, by brightening up the market with “lush greenery, water features, a tidal clock and elegant seating.

“We wanted to introduce an open, light and enjoyable atmosphere to the area.”

Compiled by town councillors over the last six months, the plans also include positioning planters around the market surrounding seating, water features and a redesign of the layout “to give an airy and continental feel that can be enjoyed by shoppers and pedestrians.”

Completing the new-look Market Place would be a small children’s play area at one end; “nothing too grand but fun for the youngsters and chance for a break for busy parents with children in tow”.

The proposal also includes the installation of a Tidal Clock – “as a nod to our town’s historic nautical links and to the plans of designers’ years ago; this will be an attractive feature.

“The statement piece of our proposed redesign is a high canopy which will cover nearly half of the Market Place.

“This will create a covered market where stall holders can trade without concern for bad weather, more comfortable and convenient for shoppers using their services.

“The overall effect should be a car-free safe area, with a covered market and brightened by lush greenery, water features, a tidal clock and elegant seating. We hope it will look lovely.”

The plans, which are the result of public consultation, are supported by the Wisbech Society, the chamber of commerce and the trustees of the Wisbech Museum.

Local people can have their say by visiting www.wisbechtowncouncil.gov.uk

To give a more detailed response, write to: Wisbech Town Council Market Place Consultation 2018, 1 North Brink, Wisbech, PE13 1JR or email mpsurvey2018@wisbechtowncouncil.org.uk

The closing date for comments is April 30.