Working party launched in bid to make Budleigh high street safer
PUBLISHED: 08:00 19 July 2020
A working party has been set up to investigate how Budleigh Salterton’s shopping district can be made safer during the coronavirus pandemic.
At its meeting on Monday, July 13, the town council agreed to set up the panel, made from five town councillors.
This came after an application for a temporary traffic order to introduce a one-way system in the town centre was withdrawn following a public outcry against the proposals.
A petition calling for the plans, which also included removing 14 car parking spaces and widening the pavement, was signed by more than 45 businesses and 90 residents.
The councillors who will sit on the panel are Penny Lewis, Lynda Evans, Henry Riddell, Graham Turner and Alan Chaplin.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Lewis said Budleigh has done a ’tremendous’ job of minimising the spread of Covid-19 but believes the council can encourage people to shop locally.
She said: “I am confident that inside the shops, all traders have done their utmost to keep their customers safe.
“There are stretches of pavements that are narrow and difficult to navigate for many at the best of times, let alone with the challenge of any social distancing measures.
“As we welcome more visitors, the situation gets more difficult.
“I am hoping the council will feel able to approve ways we can engage with residents and businesses to gather ideas and to consult widely on the safe re-opening of the High Street in light of Covid-19 and especially in the busy summer period.”
Cllr Lewis said the working party is not revisiting the withdrawn one-way system proposals but will be looking at ways to gather ideas from residents.
She added: “There may be some funding available through East Devon District Council from an EU Regional Fund to help communities respond to the virus, so the council might have financial help to put ideas into practice.
“There is a need to balance the vital support for the economy of Budleigh with the public health demands, both are required and essential.
“There have been good examples in the past of involvement and consultation, we need to build on those and perhaps add in a variety of other approaches that mean everyone can get involved whilst staying safe in these unusual times.”
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