OCTOBER 1 is the day when Wisbech Market Place finally gets a new traffic management scheme implemented.
Work is well under-way preparing the area for the implementation of the scheme by Wisbech Town Council, which will hopefully see an end to traffic chaos.
Bollards have been put in outside the 99p Store and also the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society and signs have gone up at the entrances as well as on the Market Place outlining the new parking policy.
Ownership of the Market Place was transferred from Fenland District Council to Wisbech Town Council last summer and the town council will now be responsible for administering the scheme and ensuring people comply with the various restrictions.
Council leader David Oliver explained the scheme will see complete pedestrianisation on the WH Smith side of the Market Place, with bollards in place to prevent vehicular access. However, emergency services will have keys to enable them access if necessary.
There will be a one-way system in operation. Vehicles will be able to access the Market Place from Hill Street and High Street exiting via Church Terrace, Market Street or High Street. Drivers will not be able to keep circling in the hope of finding a parking space. Parking spaces, with a one-hour enforced parking limit, will be on the 99p Store side. Drivers will have to take a parking ticket, but it is free to park.
Those who breach the one-hour limit face a £60 fine reduced to £40. There will be an enforcement officer on duty to ensure people stick to the limit.
The Market Place will be closed to traffic on Thursday and Saturdays (market days).
Mr Oliver said the hope is the limit will allow people to pop into the town centre to carry out errands and visit the shops but will also enable a turn over of around 25 cars an hour. At the moment many of the cars parked on the Market Place remain there all day, which means shoppers are unable to make use of the spaces.
Drivers abusing the scheme by parking on the access roads will face parking fines and Blue Badge holders will only be able to park in the bays provided.
However, Mr Oliver said the number of bays has been increased significantly and so there should not be a problem. Blue Badge holders who break the rules will also face a fine.
“We are hoping this scheme will be successful. We think it is the best compromise between pedestrianisation and allowing traffic on to the Market Place,” said Mr Oliver, who was in town on Monday explaining the scheme to interested passers-by.
“There seems to be a lot of interest and people seem to be quite happy with the scheme once I have explained how it is expected to work,” he said.