Public invited to have a say on plan to temporarily pedestrianise Fore Street in Topsham

Fore Street in Topsham could be temporarily pedestrianised under plans being put forward for consultation.

Banning cars from the main route through the town centre is one of the ways Exeter and county council chiefs believe can help boost business and keep shoppers safe following the coronavirus pandemic.

They say narrow pavements make social distancing difficult – especially in Fore Street where shops open onto them.

Members of the public have been invited to have their say on the proposals.

The temporary plans being put forward are:

  • Fore Street would become a pedestrian zone, with on-street parking suspended and vehicle access limited to deliveries and residents needing to get to their houses;
  • A gateway feature would be created at the entrance to the new pedestrian zone by the fire station in Fore Street, with traffic calming measures;
  • Exe Street and Victoria Road would become one-way into Fore Street;
  • Additional cycle parking would be provided near the fire station and St Nicholas Methodist Church to give cyclists easy access to shops;
  • New signage would be provided for drivers and pedestrians.

An Exeter City Council spokesperson said: “A number of options to create a safe shopping environment have been assessed in line with government guidance on creating safer public spaces during the coronavirus pandemic, and a preferred option [has been]selected which provides more space for shoppers in the town centre.”

Councillor David Harvey, lead for environment and city management, said: “Like any other town, Topsham has been affected by Covid-19 and we are keen to see it thrive once again.

“The nature of the virus and the practical steps that need to be taken to reduce transmission, coupled with the historic character of the town, meant that a unique solution was needed for the town.”

Teams working on the plans have applied all of the Government’s guidance included in ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): Safer Public Spaces- Urban Centre and Green Spaces’.

The guidance is to enable social distancing and install confidence that people can shop safely.

Cllr Harvey added: “We realise that changes to Topsham, even temporary ones, could cause concern and that’s why we want to hear from people first before anything is done.

“However, we have been asked to move quickly in order to help Topsham and other towns recover as soon as possible.”

People can view the plans by visiting the Exeter City Council website. Any comments need to be made using an online form before noon on Tuesday, June 30.

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