Traffic route is just the start for Torquay in 'bold' plans for change
The traffic system in Torquay should be reversed as a matter of urgency to make life easier for drivers going into the town centre, say planning experts.
They argue that the current system makes it easier for drivers to get out of the town than in.
Now Torbay Council's traffic working party is being asked to urgently review access to the centre and reverse the traffic flows through Torre to Castle Circus.
It is one of the proposals being developed as part of the new Torquay Neighbourhood Plan, which includes redeveloping the empty Hogshead building and the GPO roundabout in the heart of the town centre to improve the look of Union Street in the short term.
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For the longer term there have been suggestions that the area between the roundabout and Market Street, including Pimlico, is a potential site for a major shopping redevelopment.
This is in addition to existing proposals to redevelop much of the upper area of Union Street, including Temperance Street, for new retail and leisure space.
Another new idea suggests moving Torre station further up the line in the station yard to create more space for an iconic development at the entrance to the town.
The ideas came forward following a review of the latest plans, which are open to public consultation, with experts from the Prince's Foundation for Building Community.
Labour councillor Darren Cowell, whose ward includes the town centre, said he would raise traffic circulation with the transport working party.
He said: "Torre Action Group, Torre Traders and Torre and Upton Community Partnership are all clamouring for this change.
"Traffic going through Torre will obviously give a more direct route but also give people a chance to see the shops there before they are on their way home as they do at present."
He said it should also be linked with plans to improve the Castle Circus area and the plans for a supermarket in the town hall car park. The chairman of Torre and Upton community partnership, Susie Colley, said the Prince's Foundation experts had pointed out that from Torre and the town centre you could see one of the town's landmarks, the spire of St Mary Magdalene Church in Higher Union Street.
She said: "It was one of the messages which came over strongest and loudest that the route into Torquay should be direct.
"This is part of our message that we are going to be bold in our thinking."
The feedback from the planning and engineering team from the Prince's Foundation, who have been supporting the Torquay neighbourhood forum team, followed a public meeting at the Riviera International Centre to unveil the draft proposals.