Improvements to enhance Weston town centre 'well received' despite criticism

PUBLISHED: 06:55 01 October 2019

Alexandra Parade will be improved. Picture: Mark Atherton

Alexandra Parade will be improved. Picture: Mark Atherton

Archant

Concerns over the cutting down of trees and the location of bus stops in Weston town centre have been raised during consultation on a £5.3million overhaul of Weston.

People gave their views on proposed improvement works to Station Road, Walliscote Road, Alexandra Parade and Regent Street as part of public consultation.

The project will be funded by a grant from the Department for Transport and Local Growth Fund for public realm, highways and transport improvements.

Proposals included a more attractive entrance to the town with improved landscaping and the planting of more than 22 trees, offering simpler access for pedestrians, alterations to the road layout of Alexandra Parade and Walliscote Road to reduce the volume of traffic in the town centre and enhancing cycling and pedestrian links.

New trees would, however, be planted.

MORE: Pedestrian zone and bus-only area form part of multi-million town centre scheme.

The plans had been known internally since 2017 but they were not announced publicly until earlier this year when the council said it wanted to make Weston 'more attractive and accessible' and a 'lively university town'.

Two public meetings were attended by hundreds of people, with most responding positively to the Station Road and Walliscote Road proposals, with support for improved traffic flow, cycle routes, pedestrian convenience and safety.

Cllr John Crockford-Hawley, chairman of strategic planning, economic development and regeneration, said overall the plans were 'very well received', but there was some 'public disillusionment'.

A report by officers said: "The Alexandra Parade proposals were controversial as some thought the whole of the northern part of Alexandra Parade should be pedestrianised, proposed bus stops are too far from High Street, particularly for people with disabilities, and the loss of trees and green space."

Concerns were expressed at the 'poor rail and bus interchange' at the railway station and First Group has confirmed improvements are planned.

Most criticisms were made about re-wilding, a programme which the authority adopted in June where grass verges will be allowed to grow naturally rather than cut down, with some people arguing for more green space and others wanting less.

To take part in the council's consultation process, email weston.regenerationteam@n-somerset.gov.uk

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