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Traffic returns to Torbay Road

Thursday, 18 April 2024 08:33

By Guy Henderson, local democracy reporter

Traffic returns to Torbay Road, Paignton (Image: Guy Henderson)

Car ban scrapped on Paignton’s ‘Golden Mile’

The battle of Paignton’s Golden Mile is over.

Two-way traffic has been allowed back into Torbay Road – home of the town’s gift shops, cafes and tourist bars – after a U-turn by Torbay Council.

Traders said a pedestrianisation trial had killed business, and a partial re-introduction of traffic hadn’t made things much better.

Now the road signs are being changed and heavy flower tubs moved as traffic comes back.

Conservative candidates at last year’s council elections promised to bring vehicles back if they got enough votes to take power from the Lib Dem/ Independent coalition who brought in the car ban on an experimental basis.

They got the votes, and now traffic is returning.

Traders who took to the streets to protest when cars were first banned say they are happy to have them back again.

Martin Bullus, who has run the Come West fashion shop in Torbay Road for 40 years, said he was delighted.

“It’s great news,” he said. “Thank the Tories for keeping their word, although it did take longer than we thought. I think people will be able to get around Paignton much better and they will pop into the shops a lot more.”

Mr Bullus said business had been badly hit during the vehicle ban last year.

“We found that things were very slow in the morning because people couldn’t get into the town and in the afternoons they were going home early,” he said. “It was very bad last summer.”

And now, he said, Torbay Road was ready for more change.

“The road needs investment,” he went on. “It needs smartening up. For a small amount of money it could be made to look very nice.”

Sheena Robinson of the nearby Cup Cake Cafe said: “This is what we hoped for.

“I think it will have affected some of the holidaymakers for at least this year. We had a lot say that now they couldn’t get down here they wouldn’t be back, and it’s going to take a long time for it to filter through to people up-country that it’s open again.”

But, she said, a limited pedstrianisation scheme could have its merits for Paignton.

“I think it might be a good idea in the six-week summer holiday,” she said. “But for the whole year round?”

Torbay Council Leader Cllr David Thomas (Con, Preston) said the council had listened to residents and businesses in the wake of the car ban trial.
“We recognise the importance of Torbay Road to the vibrancy and vitality of the town centre economy,” he said.

“We have ambitious plans to help tackle the issues high streets are facing not just here but right across the country, and are keen to get on with delivering the long-awaited improvements we want to see in Paignton.

“We hope this decision for Torbay Road to return to two-way traffic will provide certainty and reassurance that we want to find the right solution for road users, traders, our residents and visitors.

“It also means we will get on with the next steps in the programme of improvements we are working on, made possible by investment from the government’s Future High Streets Fund, to ensure a thriving future for Paignton.”

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