New speed limit introduced in Weston’s Orchard Meadows, but will it help the town’s independent businesses?

PUBLISHED: 12:00 02 April 2018

Speed limit signs in Orchard Meadows.

Speed limit signs in Orchard Meadows.

Archant

A reduction of the speed limit in Weston-super-Mare’s Orchard Meadows does not go ‘anywhere near far enough’ to boost business for the town’s independent traders.

A 20mph limit has been introduced in Meadow Street, Orchard Street and Orchard Place by North Somerset Council to address safety concerns raised by business owners.

The council says it hopes not only to ‘combat speeding’ in the former 30mph zone, but also ‘encourage more pedestrians in to the area to support the array of independent businesses’.

But business bosses believe the new regulations will fall short of improving trade, and fear Orchard Meadows may be missing out on Weston’s ongoing regeneration.

Holly Law, owner of Replenish in Meadow Street, said: “I welcome the speed limit, but I don’t think it goes anywhere near far enough to increase footfall and encourage residents and visitors to explore our wonderful part of town.

“It’s a step in the right direction, certainly, but I would love there to be a consultation seeking the views of residents, businesses and shoppers to gauge the desire for the area to be pedestrianised to some degree.

“With work on Alexandra Parade in the pipeline, it seems like the perfect opportunity for Orchard Meadows to be treated to a facelift too.

“I believe a pedestrian scheme could really work well – the flow of traffic could be altered so residents could still access there homes, and deliveries could be limited to set times such as early morning.

“Get rid of the cars, get rid of the narrow pathways and let’s encourage people to our pretty part of town, and attract businesses to move in here.”

Paul Batts, chairman of Weston Business Improvement District and owner of Meadow Street’s Outdoors & Active, has welcomed the new speed limit – but also believes more could be done to boost trade in the town centre.

He said: “I mooted the speed limit reduction some time ago and it makes the area more pedestrian-friendly.

“We need to do more to slow people down, but it is good news. It will help Orchard Meadows become an interesting independent area.

“In the long term I hope we can have some shared space – maybe at certain hours it could be pedestrian only.”

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