Chamber split on town square’
DUNMOW S chamber of trade and commerce is split over proposals to make the White Street car park into a new town square. Town Council clerk Owen Wilson laid down the vision for the public area at the chamber s annual general meeting on Monday evening, but
DUNMOW'S chamber of trade and commerce is split over proposals to make the White Street car park into a new town square.
Town Council clerk Owen Wilson laid down the vision for the public area at the chamber's annual general meeting on Monday evening, but some aspects of the design were met by criticism from shop-owners.
Rob Ellis, owner of Woodside Kitchens and Bedrooms Ltd. in Market Place, said: "Speeds on that road are going to go up because the current entrance near the Boar's Head acts as a natural speed calmer, cars will come down the new road faster because it is an open space.
"The name 'Town Square' also implies that it will be the new centre of town, which is not the case. Surely this will mean that market place will become a secondary focal point in the town, which is something that I wouldn't like to see."
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The new town square will cost an estimated £105,000 and will radically change the area in between the Co-op and the new library into a pedestrianised gathering place, where only designated lorries and cars can drive through at a recommended speed of 5mph.
Mr Wilson explained that although cars and people would be sharing the same space, similar schemes had operated in other towns to great success.
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He said: "When cars drive down a road or a square where they know people are congregating, proven statistics from towns such as Bury St Edmonds show that they are far more careful and that accidents are very few and far between.
"If you look at what currently happens at the entrance to the area, this is a vast improvement.
"At the moment we have lorries almost knocking over the buildings and then cars having to avoid children and shoppers as they drive between the bottle banks.
"At the moment it is the only blemish on what is a great looking town centre including the High Street and Market Place."
Cash for the project is coming from Essex County Council (£30,000) and Uttlesford District Council (£34,000) as well as two unnamed businesses putting up grants.
There is also likely to be a 'sponsor a seat' opportunity to provide the area with street furniture.
Mr Wilson said: "The name town square was the obvious choice, but the whole point of our public consultation is to find out what the public want, any other name suggestions are most welcome."
Everything is set to be finalised before December 13 when a report is submitted for approval and construction can take place.
The chamber of commerce will be writing to the council with an official response to the plans saying that they support the square idea but would like to see it named as the Dourdan square, after Dunmow's French twin town, near to Paris.
Have your say! E-mail or text us your suggestions for the new name of the town square. Using your full name and address write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or text us on 07804217442. Or bring your ideas into the Saracen's Head on Tuesday between 11am and 3pm. We will pass on your suggestions to the town council.