Praise has been aimed at Budleigh Salterton Town Council for responding to public anger and scrapping plans for an unwanted temporary High Street one-way system.
Trader Richard Long, who with his wife Jane, owner of Orchard Foods, in High Street, championed a petition backed by the majority of Budleigh’s businesses.
He said he was ‘grateful’ for the council’s climbdown and apology over concerns that members had failed to consult the town before acting.
Mr Long, owner of Richard’s Menswear, also in Budleigh High Street, said the council’s U-turn had been ‘welcome news’ and thanked the businesses and public who backed the ‘scrap it’ campaign.
Earlier this week, businesses rallied against the proposed temporary one-way system, saying they were ‘angry’ at not being consulted, the scheme was ‘unnecessary’ and it would ‘put people off’ coming to Budleigh.
They added that pedestrians were ‘managing perfectly’ and had ‘been using their common sense to get around without causing problems’.
Mr Long said: “I am pleased that Budleigh Salterton Town Council has responded so quickly to the concerns expressed by the town’s business community and residents and the wider public, and I am grateful for the fulsome apology for the lack of proper consultation.
“I hope that this episode will result in greater cooperation for the benefit of the whole of our lovely town and community. We all need to pull together.”
Businesses opposed the council-agreed temporary one-way system for Budleigh Salterton High Street, believing it would harm already Covid-hit trade.
More than 45 traders and the public hit back at the proposal which aimed to widen the pavement, boost social distancing and safeguard shoppers.
Budleigh Salterton Town Council (BSTC) has said on Wednesday it will abandon the move and apologised after traders expressed anger at a lack of consultation.
BSTC said its aim had been ‘solely to support the reopening of the High Street’ while ‘keeping residents and visitors safe during this difficult time’.
The council statement said: “The town council has received representation from businesses and residents expressing concerns about the proposed scheme and that they have not been consulted during the decision-making process.
“The town council apologises to all residents and businesses.
“BSTC mistakenly believed the necessary consultation had taken place, this was not so, and recognises it is the responsibility of the council to ensure all is done correctly.”
Mr Long thanked Devon county councillor Christine Channon for lobbying on behalf of Budleigh’s businesses keen to see the scheme scrapped.
He also expressed his gratitude to East Devon MP Simon Jupp for his support, Pauline Swannell for circulating the petition and everyone who signed it.
Councillor Channon said the strength of feeling in the town had been instrumental in the decision to scrap the scheme.
She said: “Common sense has prevailed. I would like to thank the traders of the town and the residents who shop in the town for organising and signing the petition against the one-way system proposed by the town council.
“Your input has been sufficient to persuade key officers at Devon County Council that this scheme was not needed and would be detrimental to trade in the town, in spite of the Covid distancing situation.”
A special virtual town council meeting has been called for Monday evening when councillors will formally decide on withdrawing the Temporary Traffic Restriction Order application to Devon County Council.
Please consider helping EastDevonNews.co.uk give you more community news, views and coverage. Click the button below to make a contribution or read more about our work here.