‘No’ to traffic-free Budleigh High Street idea

PUBLISHED: 13:14 09 May 2016 | UPDATED: 13:14 09 May 2016

Budleigh Salterton High Street. Ref exb 18-16SH 2918. Picture: Simon Horn.

Budleigh Salterton High Street. Ref exb 18-16SH 2918. Picture: Simon Horn.

Archant

A suggested traffic-free zone in Budleigh Salterton’s town centre would kill the High Street, the mayor has warned.

In a neighbourhood plan survey, residents made suggestions which they thought could improve the town centre.

Closing the High Street to all traffic was suggested as a potential way to create a ‘café culture’ in the town.

Making the road one-way to motorists was another idea to improve overall access to the town.

Town mayor Courtney Richards does not believe a one-way system is viable and has grave concerns about the effect a pedestrian-only zone would have on trade.

He said: “Pedestrianisation would kill the High Street.

“That is the opinion we [the town council] had when we were asked to consider having parking meters in the town centre.

“In a survey carried out in the town, the most used car park was the High Street - that street gets more passing traffic than anywhere else in the town.

“To make it pedestrian-only would be the end of the High Street as we know it.”

Budleigh in Business chairman Helen Warren feels the idea of a ‘café culture’ is good, but does not think a traffic-free area would work.

She said: “While it would be lovely to have a restricted or pedestrian-only zone in the High Street, promoting a cafe culture of tables and chairs outside and maybe some nice landscaping, the reality is that an alternative route does not exist.

“Any delivery lorry over 11 tonnes cannot negotiate the turn into Brook Street or Queen Street and anyone wanting to post large, heavy parcels at the post office or buy cases of wine would have to walk some distance, as there would inevitably be an impact on the availability of nearby parking.

“Making the High Street one-way is also impractical.”

Budleigh Salterton and District Chamber of Commerce chairman Christine Bentley believes there is nothing wrong with the High Street as it operates now.

She said: “One-way traffic has been looked at before and was classed not viable, as you do not have an alternative ‘second route’.

“The chamber would not be happy with a pedestianised High Street - a lot of people would not be able to come to town. There is nothing wrong with the High Street, if people will just have a little patience, kindness and awareness.”

● What do readers think of the idea? Email exmouth.letters@archant.co.uk

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