26th September 2020

Consultation starts on extension of temporary East Street closure

Somerset West and Taunton Council is encouraging members of the public to have their say on the effect of temporary changes to traffic flow in Taunton.

The current temporary closure of East Street to all vehicles except cycles was initiated as a joint response from Somerset West and Taunton Council and Somerset County Council working with the police and other partners, to enable social distancing and encourage walking and cycling in line with the first round of Active Travel funding to support the re-opening of high streets.

The impact in East Street is being monitored and Somerset West and Taunton Council is working with Somerset County Council to mitigate concerns already raised such as installing more crossing points with ramps to support those with low mobility, and considering the potential of more dedicated off street parking for blue badge holders near East Street.

The consultation will allow Somerset West and Taunton Council to seek wider views on the temporary closure while awaiting the outcome of a bid for Active Travel phase two funding which would enable an extension of the scheme.

The public consultation starts today (10 September) and will run for two weeks.

It asks if people would support an extension of the temporary closure and seeks input on the positives and negatives of having the road closed such as the ability to cross the road safely and cleaner air, against loss of on street parking and the impact on traffic movement around town.

The consultation also asks what changes people would you like to see if the scheme is extended and whether they would like to see activities on the street, for instance market stalls and entertainment.

Cllr Mike Rigby, executive member for planning and transport, said:

“Unfortunately there was not time to consult with the public prior to the temporary closure of East Street to support social distancing when Covid-19 restrictions were eased in June.

However, we are taking this opportunity ahead of the further funding announcement to give everyone a chance to have their say on the perceived benefits or issues created.

It is important to remember that this is a consultation on the extension of the temporary closure not any possible permanent scheme.

We are committed to continuing to engage with the local community and I would urge everyone to have their say.

Due to the current limitations around physical contact the consultation is being carried out online giving the best chance to reach as many members of the community as possible, in as fair a manner as possible.”

The consultation can be found by visiting https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/K2SJ76C