A CONTROVERSIAL scheme to restrict parking in the centre of Church Stretton has been thrown out.

The proposed change to Church Stretton High Street split the town down the middle.

One way traffic in the High Street was one of the options under consideration by south Shropshire planners They were recommended to retain two-way-traffic but to widen the pavement by removing street parking.

Supporters of the scheme believed that it would make life easier for pedestrians, especially those with disabilities and to improve safety.

But opponents feared that it would damage trade and change the appearance and character of the High Street in the market town that is a major tourist attraction.

Planning chiefs from Shropshire Council consulted widely in the town but admitted that there was an even split of opinion.

They have found that a one way traffic flow is possible but lacks support and causes concern that vehicles will go to other parts of the town.

If the pavement widening had gone ahead it would have meant the loss of eight parking spaces but planning chiefs argued that this will not have a significant impact as there are 80 other street parking and 130 pay and display spaces in Church Stretton.

But the planning committee decided against the change.

Eddie Whifield, a market trader selling fruit and vegetables at Church Stretton’s Thursday market, said that he is pleased that the matter has been resolved.

“There are only a few traders but we make enough noise and I do not think whatever was decided that shoppers would have any problem knowing we are here,” said Eddie.

Pavement widening and improvements have been undertaken in a number of market towns with the largest scheme in Cleobury Mortimer taking several months to complete during the summer of 2010.