Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) is implementing temporary arrangements for access to East Street during the festive season.
East Street has been closed to all vehicular traffic except emergency vehicles and retail deliveries since non-essential retail reopened in July following the first national lockdown.
The temporary closure was initiated as a joint response from SWT and Somerset County Council (SCC) working with the police and other partners, to enable social distancing and encourage walking and cycling in line with Government’s Active Travel initiative.
With the second round of restrictions easing and significantly reduced daylight hours
Blue Badge holders are being granted access to East Street between 8am and 10am only throughout December.
This comes ahead of a longer term solution to allow improved traffic flow around Taunton town centre and provide increased parking for Blue Badge holders following a consultation by SWT.
The proposed scheme will see an automated barrier which would allow access to all traffic in a one-way direction on East Street during peak hours, seven days a week. The new barrier will remain down restricting access between fixed hours, subject to Road Safety Audit approval and any Covid19 restrictions.
Additional consultation will take place during December while the longer term scheme is undergoing detailed design to ensure the needs of all users are met as closely as is possible whilst ensuring public safety.
Cllr Mike Rigby, Executive Member for Planning and Transport, said: “I’m pleased that we have been able to provide a short term option for Blue Badge holders to access the shops and business on East Street during the festive season.
“We are anticipating an increase in shoppers following the reopening of non-essential retail and want to ensure we make our town centre shops and services accessible to all while prioritising public safety.
I’m confident that we will be able to introduce the longer term measures early in the New Year to improve our town centre shopping experience and the flow of traffic for everyone.”
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