Temporary arrangements to get Topsham back to business safely
Published: 23 June 2020
Fore Street in Topsham could be temporarily turned into a pedestrian zone, under new plans being put forward for consultation.
Officers from Exeter City Council and Devon County Council are looking at ways of getting Topsham back to business following the coronavirus pandemic, keeping businesses, shoppers and visitors to the town safe.
A number of the town’s streets, have very narrow pavements, and in Fore Street the shops open up onto the pavements, making social distancing very difficult. 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 selected which provides more space for shoppers in the town centre.
The plans will now go to public consultation, with people being given a chance to have their say.
Under the temporary plans being put forward:
- 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 on 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 for drivers and pedestrians.
Cllr David Harvey, Lead Councillor of Environment and City Management, said that Topsham was a much loved town for both those who lived there and those that chose to visit.
“Like any other town, Topsham has been affected by COVID-19, and we are keen to see it thrive once again,” he said.
“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,” he added.
Teams working on the plans have applied all of the government 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 said: “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,” he added.
People can see the plans by visiting the City Council’s website at www.exeter.gov.uk/topsham and making any comments by completing the online form before midday on 30 June.