The closure of St James Street to traffic on a 12 month trial basis will go ahead this month, following extensive consultation with a Taunton town centre stakeholder working group.
The group consisted of representatives of Taunton Chamber of Commerce, Avon and Somerset Police, Compass Disability Services, Taunton Taxi Association, First Group Buses, Taunton Area Cycling Campaign, Compass Disability Services, Taunton Visitor Centre, Taunton Transition Town, and partners Somerset County Council and WSP.
A thorough review of the project goals and proposed solutions was undertaken by the group which raised some valid points around the perception of safety, effects on the evening economy, taxi services, cycle lanes and coach parking. SWT took actions away from the meetings and reported back to the group.
As a result St James Street will be closed between North Street and Lower Middle Street only, with review meetings every three months. A package of monitoring measures will be published in advance so the effects of the scheme can be reviewed.
The scheme will be implemented in plenty of time for the Cricket World Cup fan zone, in the town centre on the weekend of 8 and 9 June.
Work on the proposals for Hammet Street and East Street will continue after the successful implementation of the St James Street closure. These changes will be subject to public consultation prior to any implementation.
SWT and Somerset County Council will continue working on the details of the wider proposed changes with the appointed transport and urban design specialists WSP.