Budleigh Salterton Town Council has set up a working party to boost safety and social distancing in High Street – after ditching plans for a temporary one-way system.
Members agreed to the move this week having formally scrapped a controversial traffic order which had sparked a protest petition from traders.
The five-strong new group will also aim to encourage use of the shops.
One representative told colleagues he felt some residents’ voices had been ‘overshadowed’ by business owners who successfully called for the one-way system to be scrapped.
The council had previously issued a public apology after traders objected to the mooted scheme and bemoaned a lack of consultation.
Monday’s meeting heard the new working party could do the ‘donkey work’ in exploring how to keep shoppers safe and then bring any proposals back to the authority.
“We have an important thing to do now, immediately, with the town, not against the town,” said Councillor Penny Lewis
“We need a group now to deal with the Covid-19 issue.”
Cllr Megan Kenneally-Stone said: “There are people avoiding High Street. It’s not safe to walk down with your children. This problem isn’t going away.
“We have concerns from traders and concerns from residents who aren’t using High Street because it’s not safe.
“All we’re trying to do is keep residents safe.
“People are walking down the middle of the road when they can’t walk on the pavements.”
She added: “I suggest we need people who represent families in the community to give their input.”
Cllr Henry Riddell told the meeting: “It isn’t just traders in town its affecting, it’s residents as well.”
He said that he and colleagues had received messages of support over the one-way system, adding: “Voices of traders have overshadowed some of the residents in the town.”
Cllr Riddell called for the council to ‘work with everyone’ and ‘not just those whose voices seem to be the loudest’.
He said of the petition against the scheme: “Five thousand people live in Budleigh, 100 signatures isn’t a lot.”
County councillor Christine Channon had told members: “In three days, over 100 people who were residents signed that petition.
“We’ve got to be careful distinguishing between residents and traders, there was very strong feeling there.”
Councillors voted by eight to one in favour of forming the working party.
They had earlier in the meeting voted by six to three to formally withdraw an application to Devon County Council for the Temporary Traffic Restriction Order.[asp_product id=”17531″]