I feel I must comment on the article in the Herald covering the Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting.
It is all very nice to quote 94%, 90%, 83%, 67%. All look very large in numbers, but this has little validity without the actual numbers of people. If my calculations are correct, of the 54 members: -
About 45 members voted not to extend the pedestrianisation. What pedestrianisation? Old Fore Street is a vehicle restricted area, but I sometimes wonder. Market Square, at times, seems to be a delivery drivers loading and unloading area, and the pavement below the church in Church street still remains a loading/unloading park for delivery lorries and some private cars.
Of the 54 members, only 8 thought that the Woolbrook Park and Change facility was the best location. As with the other Park and Ride suggestions, I wonder what they based their considerations on. Was it just a gut feeling?
It seems difficult to comprehend how a small number of people who trade in the Town can dictate to the 14,000 or more who live in the Sid Valley.
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Why is the scare tactic of pedestrianisation always one of the main topics for this group? What our town desperately needs is a Traffic Management Plan which will make the High Street and Fore Street a safe and pleasant place for those of us who walk through the town, look into shop windows, and spend our monies in the shops that the Commerce people own and make a living from. Who knows what the professionals will recommend?
There is no comment from the Chamber of Commerce on the difficulty that we have walking along narrow pavements, having to dodge the large vehicles and cars that navigate through the narrow streets and the many delivery people who park their vehicles with wheels on pavements.
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If you were a prospective buyer of the Knowle, would you be happy if part of your land was nominated for use as a Park and Ride?
In relation to the Park and Ride, who does the Commerce think will provide the buses to run from the Knowle, Manor Road and Stevens Cross? The Town Council already contributes �7,000 a year from the Community Charge towards the Hopper Bus that runs in the summer.
Stevens Cross area is only served by three bus routes, all of which have a considerable time between each service, which would be of little use to those wishing to visit the town and return to their vehicles. Woolbrook will have at least 6 buses that will service the proposed Park and Change facility.
I believe Devon County Council have purchased the land at Woolbrook, so, who will provide and/or purchase the land at Stevens Cross?
For those who live in Woolbrook, the County Council now owning the land will, for the foreseeable future, stave off any more houses being built in our already overstretched location. I notice that some of the houses in the new development have double garages, so, just think of how many extra cars will be entering Sidmouth just from that new estate let alone the ones at the top of Stowford Rise.
So, I would ask the local authorities, both County and District, please put the needs of Sidmouth high on your list of being in need of a help. We are in desperate need of a Traffic Management Plan for the town. Seaton has its bypass and new car parks (Exmouth also) and has a very pleasant new area to visit in the Strand.
To Devon County Council, I ask, please do not delay the Traffic Management Plan you have agreed to so that we can all have our say about what professional people propose for our town, and stop all this pressure that seems to rule the lives of a group of people who own less than 100 establishments in High Street and Fore Street, some of whom do not live here.
My final plea to the Chamber of Commerce is that we do understand you are in business and need to trade to make your living, BUT, without us shoppers to come into your shops and spend our monies, where would you be?