A county councillor has been left "puzzled" and "disappointed" after a plan to introduce a seasonal closure of parking spaces in Sudbury was withdrawn suddenly. 

The plan to close half of Market Hill to drivers and remove parking through the summer months, to allow extra space for outdoor dining at the restaurants, was given final approval by Sudbury Town Council on February 13.

However, Suffolk County Council, the body with the power to approve the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) that would have been required for the move, confirmed on Tuesday that it has decided to withdraw the proposal based on "opposition from a number of local businesses, Sudbury Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders".

Jessie Carter, Suffolk county councillor for Sudbury, said the withdrawal has left many, including a handful of businesses on Market Hill, "puzzled and disappointed".

East Anglian Daily Times: Jessie Carter, Suffolk county councillor for SudburyJessie Carter, Suffolk county councillor for Sudbury (Image: SCC)

"Having this trial pulled just weeks before it was due to go ahead has wasted not only hundreds of hours of officer’s time from all three councils, but also thousands of pounds from the taxpayers," she said.

The decision was made just weeks before the pilot scheme was set to start in May and after 18 months of work between the town and county councils.

The plan was controversial, with Sudbury Chamber of Commerce carrying out a survey which it said found a majority of businesses were not in favour.

Ms Carter, who also sits on Sudbury Town Council and Babergh District Council, said that while many spoke out against the plans during a Sudbury Town Council meeting in March, there was "huge support" from residents at the annual town council meeting.

"I have received countless contact from residents who are in favour of the scheme, who were disappointed that parking was reinstated after Covid and who were looking forward to the trial," she said.

East Anglian Daily Times: Market Hill in SudburyMarket Hill in Sudbury (Image: Newsquest)

"We were never going to please everyone with this pilot, but there were a large group of people and business who were in favour.

"Events were planned all throughout the summer which are now having to be cancelled.

"This was an opportunity to trial an idea that could have increased footfall as it has done for many others."

She said Sudbury Town Council was not informed in advance about the potential cancellation and was not offered the chance to engage with the cabinet member who made the decision. 

"I believe that there was a lack of communication, transparency, and opportunity for stakeholders to voice their opinions and support for the ETRO," she said.

Suffolk County Council declined to comment further.