More people in Middle Street, Yeovil
You may recall from previous articles in The Leveller® that South Somerset District Council has been working on plans to pedestrianise and upgrade parts of the centre of Yeovil. Initially the idea was that Middle Street between the current pedestrian zone and the junction with the High Street would be a pedestrian zone for shopping hours only with time before and after for lorries and vans to be able to deliver to businesses. This includes WH Smith which is likely to become the home of Yeovil Post Office if the review of the Crown Post Office underway at the moment recommends closure (as it is widely expected to do)
However Somerset County Council have stepped in and dictated that it is all or nothing. Because Middle Street is not on a bus route “it would not be possible to use enforcement cameras to restrict vehicle movement at certain times of the day and therefore completely shutting the route to all traffic would be safer.”
Which sounds like good news for shoppers, but what do businesses think. Bearing in mind the confusion that has surrounded Taunton Deane’s efforts at consulting with business and the public over similar issues, we take SSDC at their word until proven otherwise. They claim that they have consulted with all impacted businesses and the feedback they have is that they don’t mind “We’ve reconsulted with businesses that will be affected by the complete removal of all traffic to Middle Street and the general feeling that has come back to us is that they will make it work because they see the benefits that pedestrianising the area will bring.”
It is certainly true that if the top of Middle Street is pedestrianised then those businesses stand to gain from more footfall. Even if it does make restocking their shelves a bit of a logistical nightmare.
However there is still a process to go through. SSDC have submitted a new Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to remove all traffic from the top of Middle Street at all times of day. That goes in to Somerset County Council and in due course will hopefully be approved. But don’t expect an answer for a few months yet!
It’s not good news for all shoppers – if it goes ahead this decision would be a devastating blow to the disabled community who rely heavily on the dedicated parking here. Hundred of people are speaking out against this but it remains to be seen if the councils will listen.