Strand: ask the vital question

David Beasley reports on progress towards maximising the social values of the Strand Gardens (Journal, April 16).

David Beasley reports on progress towards maximising the social values of the Strand Gardens (Journal, April 16).The article implies there were fears that traffic re-routing would make the Savoy frontage car-traffic-free in shopping hours.I must be talking to the wrong people: those I have heard from in this respect could not understand why a traffic-free Savoy frontage (except for 10mph buses) was not one of Devon County Council's options on offer. When questioned, DCC officers said it was "because the Central Exmouth Traffic Research isn't yet at a stage at which we can present the alternative choices for traffic".Judging by research done by Exmouth people, it seems there could be acceptable traffic alternatives.With Lower Rolle Street pedestrianised we would have:l A town centre not split in half by noise and vehicle-threatl A much quieter at-ease Strand Gardens - for a multitude of social interactions.The Exhibition Roadshow for The Strand on April 24/25 needs to put the question explicitly: "Do you - or don't you - want the Savoy frontage pedestrianised?" - unless the best efforts of the highway designers have found there is no practical or affordable way of redirecting across-town cars. If the road engineers need more time before they can pronounce on feasibility, they must surely be granted it - before Exmouth is committed to a layout with far-reaching implications.As the ASDA-test showed, Exmouth people are groping among spot changes - for lack of an embracing 'Exmouth Town Plan'.Not before time, Exmouth Town Council and community groups are seeking to pool their visionary resources towards such a plan.The Strand Gardens design is not a stand-alone initiative.No one would attempt to redesign their home kitchen without 'seeing it' in its whole-house setting.Nic Pawson,1 Greenacre, 5 Isca Road, Exmouth.

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