Buttercross - More greenery might bring birds back to town centre

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Last week I wrote about Colin Yorke, the now retired schoolmaster living in Swaffham, and his kind offer to carve a new Pedlar sign for us all to enjoy.

Colin kindly offered his time freely to carve this sign with only materials to be paid for, presumably from the money that Stuart Bell recently gave towards the sign’s construction, and we are all grateful for their generosity.

Many people will have noticed that the old sign that stood in the corner of the Pedlar’s car park was beginning to look the worse for wear and something needed to be done.

During this last week we have been privileged to see how things are coming along with this new figure, and it has become obvious that the original design has been significantly altered, perhaps to put a more modern look on the Old Boy.

A talented woodworker now able to put his own mark on this design. Swaffham thankfully moving along with the times.

n Staying on our market place, it is good to hear the town council and the Advance Swaffham Action Group are working together with the business forum, and under the chairmanship of Chris Parsons, to try to improve the commercial aspects of our town centre.

No doubt many bright ideas will be put forward and we will all see improvement to what at present is a fairly flat area. Vibrancy is required and there are certainly things that can be undertaken to improve things.

Many people believe there is far too much black top and too little greenery about the place. Troughs, tubs and hanging baskets all need maintaining to be seen at their best, not easily achieved in these challenging times, but greenery alone is more easily attained and with smaller maintenance costs.

Suitable trees planted around our market place would soften the area and enclose what at present is a large, open, featureless space. Trees would also help with the 
ongoing problem of rising 
traffic pollution, provide shaded areas, more attractive seating areas and, fingers crossed, we might actually get some small birds back in the town centre.

n We now know that Breckland Council is not likely to charge for car parking in our town centre. I may be missing something here, but this means that traffic wardens may well become more active in ensuring that the general two-hour parking limit is adhered to – £12 parking fines aplenty perhaps.

If Breckland had decided on two hours free parking followed by the option of paying a charge if motorists wished to stay longer that surely would have been a better solution.

If this option had been adopted there might well have been more income from parking, and certainly fewer hot-under-the-collar motorists who are almost certainly now going to be hit with more fines.

Should the wardens become more active, as I anticipate, then there will be far more vehicle movements around our market place and, I guess, more empty parking spaces. Perhaps that might lead to more of that appalling sprawl of black top being removed with yet more greenery appearing.

We might well then have a town centre that is truly appealing to all, and certainly to the visitors we crave to see. By this means we may actually see retail trade increase.