Temporary bid to pedestrianise Fore Street in Topsham is scrapped over lack of public support

Plans to temporarily pedestrianise part of Topsham town centre have been scrapped due to a lack of public support. 

The mooted measure in Fore Street had been aimed at boosting business and keeping shoppers safe following the coronavirus lockdown.

But traders and residents feared the move could turn Topsham into a ‘ghost town’.

A snap poll took place last week and, following the results, the proposals have been halted.

Representatives and officers will now explore if there are any alternative safety measures that can be brought in in line with government guidelines.

Councillor David Harvey, lead for environment and city management, said: “The poll showed considerable support for some measures to reduce car use in Topsham.

“The highway authority, Devon County Council (DCC), are going to go away and look at some ideas to achieve this.”

Topsham ward member and Conservative Group leader Cllr Andrew Leadbetter added: “Full pedestrianisation at this stage isn’t wanted by the traders and we respect that.

“There are genuine concerns around how this will impact business and it comes after a three-month period that has seen trade drop.”

The temporary plans put forward were:

  • Fore Street would have 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 have been 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 have become one-way into Fore Street;
  • Additional cycle parking would have been provided near the fire station and St Nicholas Methodist Church;
  • There would have been new signage for drivers and pedestrians.

 Main concerns raised through the straw poll were around the potential the changes could reduce the number of shoppers.

Worries were also expressed over access to Fore Street and a host of practical issues such as signage.

The measured had been proposed by Exeter City Council and DCC.

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