There was a unanimous vote at yesterday evening’s Devizes Town Council planning meeting in favour of stopping all traffic coming through the Market Place and pedestrianizing it….
With growing concerns to air quality in the town centre and pressure from local environmental campaign groups, the town council approved plans to prevent vehicles passing through the historic Market Place.
The plans presented by a contributing collaboration of environmental consultants to cut the road off at the Wadworth Brewery roundabout and the High Street at the opposite end will commence as soon as feasible and pedestrianisation of the area will shortly follow, with green spaces provided.
The benefits of pedestrianisation are manyfold: pedestrian safety, the World Health Organisation finds that pedestrianisation not only improves safety for pedestrians but also contributes to lower levels of noise and air pollution. Pedestrianisation creates a pleasant environment people can involve in social, cultural and tourism activities. Furthermore, it helps to promote walking as a transport mode by making the walking experience more enjoyable. And there are economic benefits as well as environmental. Pedestrianisation can improve the economic growth of an area due to increased consumer retail spend, increased rents able to be charged for units within a pedestrianised street and the reduction of economic losses caused through air pollution.
With two pedestrianised piazzas planned, one on each side of the Market Cross, surrounding green spaces have the potential to create lively market and events areas. It’s unlikely this will happen, claimed one Conservative Councillor who stated firmly, “this would only act as a stimulus for rowdy behaviour and festive frolics, and we would not welcome overexcitement from the public, partly because they’re unlikely to invite us.”
Along with plenty of walking and cycle paths, we’re informed there will be a single lane service road running through the centre of the Market Place to allow access to buses, taxis and delivery vehicles. There will be loading and unloading bays in the centre of the ring road, but no cars or private transport will be allowed to enter the area. There will however be two reserved parking spaces, one for our illustrious MP Danny Kruger and the other for Councillor Iain Wallis, social media god.
The council clerk Simon Fisher suggested, “being as Mr Wallis is the only councillor who really does anything it’s only right the second parking bay should be his, if you’d not called Boris Johnson a poo-poo head on his impartial Facebook group and got yourself a lifelong ban you’d know all about just how hard he works.”
Devizes Mayor Chris Gay called the decision “wonderfully different, yet something we will all adjust to in time.” When asked about the landslide vote, she replied, “yes, all councillors voted in favour of the service road, as I told them if they didn’t, they’d be buried under it.”
“Weigh, the lads!” announced councillor Jonathan Hunter, and all councillors stayed late to celebrate the decision, with a blues band arranged by councillor Hopkins, the reason he’s on the council, and a display of breakdancing choreographed by Kelvin Nash.
Guardians danced with Conservatives, and the only Labour councillor, Catherine Brown was sent out to make cups of tea. All enjoyed the evening, with the exception of Mr Wallis, who excused himself by announcing he needed a change of underwear, only later to be found updating his Facebook group with his concerns.
The work should be complete with a grand opening ceremony precisely one year from now, April Fool’s Day 2023. Seriously though, would it be a fool’s idea? No one parks there now anyway, but a patch of greengrocers’ fake grass is the best you could really expect. Let’s have the ceremony opened by Miley Cyrus, no one is reads this far anyway.
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