“Feedback from residents has been positive.”
Looking at a more permanent scheme for 2021
As a response to the Covid crisis, the Town Council introduced measures to make social distancing easier in the town centre – and so encourage people to patronise the high street:
This week, the Town Council’s tourism and economy committee met up to look at the measures:
Open Streets Café Culture – Creating the best condition for 2021-21
Members discussed the possible extension of the Covid secure traffic measures and the County council’s ‘Open Streets Café Culture’ scheme.
David Cook [Chair of the Chamber] was thanked for his report and feedback gained from businesses on the current temporary traffic management system written and presented on behalf of the Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce. He indicated that Sidmouth’s scheme had been far more successful than other towns resulting in a much busier ‘high street’ as it allowed a sensible mix of safe pedestrian areas but still allowed traffic to flow through the town.
The Chamber of Commerce and Town Council were largely in agreement with regard to the ongoing street closures to enable safe socially distanced shopping, although there were still concerns from many shop keepers with regard to receiving deliveries.
Councillors agreed that the feedback from residents had been positive and that reduced traffic had largely created a safer environment. They expressed a wish to examine more permanent arrangements in the future which could go further to reduce traffic.
Councillor Hughes suggested that there may be government funding available for this project. It was agreed that an extension of the scheme would enable further surveying of public opinion including customers, residents and visitors and not just the businesses themselves.
Members also discussed the possibility of a more permanent scheme which could be introduced in 2021.
The Herald reports:
Car-free shopping streets could be Sidmouth’s future
The part-pedestrianisation of Sidmouth town centre could become a long-term fixture if residents, businesses and visitors support the idea.
The temporary traffic management was introduced in July as a Covid-19 precaution to enable pavements to be widened so that pedestrians could observe the two-metre social distancing rule...
The town council’s chairman Ian Barlow has always strongly supported the part-pedestrianisation and is keen to see it continue. He said at the time that it was one very positive element to come out of Covid-19 and would give the opportunity to ‘get more atmosphere going in the town’, complementing the attractions of the seafront area.
Speaking after the meeting, he said: “The traders are very happy. There was a lot of fear before, but even people who thought it was going to be disastrous to them have benefited hugely from it.”
The public’s response is pretty mixed: