Improvements proposed for ‘good, but not perfect’ Sidmouth town centre pedestrianisation
- Credit: Archant
Proposed improvements to Sidmouth’s partial town centre pedestrianisation are being put forward, as plans are drawn up for making it permanent.
The road closures, introduced in July to give pedestrians more space for social distancing, were due to end on Wednesday, September 30.
But the town council has advised Devon County Council Highways that it wants the measures to stay in place until the end of this year.
During that time, work will take place to iron out some of the problems.
David Cook, chairman of the Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce (SCOC), said: “It is recognised by both SCOC and Sidmouth Town Council that the scheme, whilst good, is not perfect and during the coming few months we will work together to see if improvements can be made.
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“This so that with effect from April 1, 2021, it is hoped that the scheme can continue, regardless of whether or not social distancing is still with us.”
He said SCOC had surveyed 30 businesses, including non-members of the chamber, who trade in the part of Sidmouth where the streets are closed to traffic between 11am and 5pm: Old Fore Street, New Street, Church Street up to the junction with Chapel Street, and Market Square up to the Esplanade.
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The poll found that 90 per cent were very happy with the scheme.
But there are several issues that need to be resolved.
One is to find a better location for taxis and blue badge holders to park, so that they are closer to the town centre with more convenient access. They are currently using temporary parking places.
Deliveries to businesses during the hours of closure have also been a problem.
The council and Chamber of Commerce want to work with traders to further reduce the already low number of deliveries they need during road closure hours. There will still be access for emergency vehicles.
It is proposed that the wider footpath in Fore Street should be made permanent, with a wider walkway on both sides of the road, and a speed restriction of either 10mph or 20mph introduced throughout the town centre and along the Esplanade.
Any members of the Chamber of Commerce who would like to be involved in the consultation, or has any comments on the proposals, is asked to email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org