Parts of Sidmouth town centre could be pedestrianised as part of proposed temporary measures to keep people safe as lockdown eases.
Traffic would be barred from Old Fore Street, New Street, Market Place and Church Street between 11am and 5pm daily in a bid to boost social distancing and help ‘kick-start the local economy’.
Parking spaces would also be removed from the lower part of Fore Street and to the west of The Esplanade.
The Esplanade, east of its junction with Ham Lane, and the seafront turning circle would also be closed to all vehicles – except those carrying out deliveries and coaches.
The measures are being sought by Sidmouth Town Council as part of an emergency Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO).
Social distancing markings have already begun being painted on pavements to help protect residents and visitors from coronavirus.
“It’s important that we do everything we can to help kick-start the local economy and to welcome visitors back to our unique town with many independent shops,” said Councillor Stuart Hughes.
He spent three hours yesterday (Monday, June 8) with town council contractor Ben Cruickshank stencilling two-metre markings around the town centre.
Cllr Hughes, cabinet member for highway management on Devon County Council, said the move is to ‘improve the safety of visitors and locals alike when visiting the town shopping after June 15’.
He added: “Further measures Sidmouth Town Council are seeking to carry out in Sidmouth, and which have the support of the chamber of commerce and hoteliers, include the daily pedestrianisation of Old Fore Street, New Street, Market Place and Church Street between 11am and 5pm.
“Taking out parking in lower section of Fore Street to provide more space for pedestrians.
“Take out the parking to the west of The Esplanade, between Dukes and the Bedford Hotel frontage to provide more space for pedestrians, but also providing two temporary dedicated loading/unloading bays as, at present, delivery vehicles double park on The Esplanade.
“The closure of The Esplande east of the Ham Lane junction along with turning circle to all motorised vehicles accept delivery vehicles & coaches for turning.
“If agreed as part of the emergency TTRO process, these measures will be in place up to 18 months.”
The stencils and temporary marking paint were purchased by Sidmouth Town Council.