THE question as to whether Ledbury traders should be consulted over road closures for street events has been robustly debated by Ledbury town councillors.

The debate could have a far-reaching impact, in the future, on when, when and whether street closures take place for community events; and the town council could become more and more involved with the decision-making process.

While street events can bring large crowds to the town centre, some traders see road closures as a hindrance to trade, and historically many Ledbury traders have chosen to shut up shop during street events such as the October Fayre and Ledbury Carnival.

There have also been street closures in New Street, in recent times, for events such as the Halloween Festival, last October.

Although it is Herefordshire Council that grants or refuses road closures, Ledbury Town Council has been consulted for its views, and some town councillors feel that the town council, in turn, should consult with traders.

Cllr Liz Harvey, a town and county councillor, speaking at last week's full town council meeting, asked whether "stakeholders" in the town were being give notice of road closures for events.

She said: "Herefordshire Council consults with the town council. It does expect us to consult locally."

Cllr Annette Crowe, herself a Homend trader, said: "I take on board what Cllr Harvey is saying. The traders should be included. I think we have to see how Ledbury Town Council and Herefordshire Council are going to work together, and yes, the traders are already being involved."

But Cllr Tony Bradford questioned whether the town council had to get involved at all, and he asked about an apparent shift in policy.

He said: "For decades we've had street closures. This is a new thing. I want to see it in writing that Ledbury Town Council is going to get permission for road closures. Why should we inform anyone?

"We have nothing to do with road closures; unless the situation has changed."

Cllr Crowe said traders were asking to the "included in any discussions the town council has, before sending recommendations to Herefordshire Council".

Cllr Harvey said there was no intention for Ledbury Town Council to actually make decisions about road closures.

She added: "Historically, the town council hasn't been consulted. We have a lovely town centre, ideal for community events; but it's polite for the town council to be given time to comment."