Pedestrianisation plans for Topsham dropped following poll
Published: 7 July 2020
Plans to temporarily pedestrianise Topsham to make it safer will not take place, following the results of a snap poll.
Officers at both Exeter City Council and Devon County Council had been working on an option to keep businesses, shoppers and visitors safe from COVID-19.
Despite their usual appeal, the footways in Topsham are too narrow to safely achieve the social distancing measures currently prescribed by Central Government.
Elected Members and officers will now explore if there are any alternative safety measures in line with Government advice that could be brought in.
The potential to reduce cars in Topsham in the long term, remains an option.
Lead Councillor for Environment and City Management, Cllr David Harvey, said: "The poll showed considerable support for some measures to reduce car use in Topsham. The Highway Authority, Devon County Council, are going to go away and look at some ideas to achieve this."
Topsham ward councillor and Conservative Leader Andrew Leadbetter, said: "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 main concerns raised over the straw poll were around the potential it could reduce the number of shoppers, issues with accessing Fore Street and a host of practical issues such as signage and access.
Those in support hoped it would attract even more shoppers, improve air quality and make it a better environment for people. Formal consultation would have followed had the poll supported the plan.