SOUTH Norwood High Street should be shut off to cars and pedestrianised, a Labour councillor has suggested.
Councillor Wayne Lawlor believes pedestrianisation could be the answer to the high street's deterioration in recent years and would like a public consultation on its future.
Cllr Lawlor said: "The High Street is crying out for something because it has been seen to deteriorate for quite a long time now.
"I would like to see a return to the sort of businesses we had my childhood. Things like stationery shops.
"It would also help businesses like coffee shops thrive and if there were no cars that would definitely help it."
Cllr Lawlor suggested the pedestrian-only zone could be between Saint Dunstan's Road and the corner of The Alliance pub.
He would also like to see Station Approach closed to vehicles.
Cllr Lawlor added: "The council needs to show the High Street a bit of love because there is so much potential there.
"It would need a lot of public consultation with residents and businesses to see what would work best, but it used to be a thriving business district and that is what we should aim for again.
"There are too many money lending and chicken shops and that is not what you want to see when you walk down a high street.
"We would have to work hard and find diversions for traffic and I know it will certainly be no quick fix."
Gavin Barwell, Conservative MP for Croydon Central which includes neighbouring ward Woodside, said he would be willing to explore the prospect.
However, Mr Barwell added: "I would be slightly nervous about the idea because it serves as a major through route for cars and also a key bus route."
Other South Norwood residents were slightly more sceptical about Cllr Lawlor's idea, pointing to the traffic that already passes through the street.
John Rother, of Design Brothers, on Station Road, said: "The High Street is a busy place and needs to bear traffic.
"I think people would come to view the place as pain rather than somewhere they would like to visit."
Ian Bone, a South Norwood Tourist Board associate, said: "It's a nice idea but I'm not sure it would work really.
"I'm just not sure where the traffic would go or what shops people would be coming to visit."