A leader has said he is "appalled" as proposals to introduce a seasonal closure of parking spaces in Sudbury have been withdrawn.

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 approved by Sudbury Town Council on February 13. 

However, Suffolk County Council, the body with the power to approve the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order that would have been required for the move, confirmed on Tuesday that it has decided to withdraw the proposal.

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

A county council spokesperson said: "Based on a number of reasons, including opposition from a number of local businesses, Sudbury Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders, we have decided to withdraw proposals to introduce a seasonal closure of Market Hill in Sudbury to traffic due to the potential detrimental impact to footfall and trade in the town."

On Wednesday, John Ward, acting leader of Babergh District Council, said: "I am appalled at the decision by Suffolk County Council to decide at the last minute not to permit the planned closure of Market Hill for a trial period this summer.

"This goes against a democratic decision by the town council and follows a huge amount of work and money expended by them, Babergh and – yes – the county council itself."

East Anglian Daily Times: Cllr John Ward, acting leader of Babergh District CouncilCllr John Ward, acting leader of Babergh District Council (Image: BMSDC)

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 they said found a majority of businesses were not in favour.

However, Mr Ward said: "It’s very concerning that a decision has been made on the basis of lobbying from a few members of an un-elected organisation without speaking to the democratically elected town council first to listen to both sides.

"It is a nakedly political decision without any thought for the town and the many residents who were looking forward to the possibilities that the trial would open up."

He said it would have been a "wonderful opportunity" for Sudbury to try something new and would have "undoubtedly have brought much increased trade".

"Suffolk County Council is effectively saying to all the market towns in the county: don’t bother being innovative, don’t try to reimagine your towns to make them viable in the future, the county council won’t support you," he added.

Suffolk County Council was approached for further comment.