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Exciting plans revealed for new town centre

 

EXCITING plans to re-model the town centre took a huge leap forward last week, after early ideas of how the t own could look were unveiled at a public meeting.

Three potential options were presented, following a feasibility study into how to enhance the town centre. The meeting was held at a packed out Cheese and Grain on Tuesday 2nd of October.

 

The plans were drawn up by Landscape Projects Limited who are working with Frome Town Council to re-model the town centre.

 

Neil Swanson, director of Landscape Projects Limited, said, “We are focusing on returning the centre of the town to the pedestrian while maintaining a reduced traffic flow through the town. This has been successful in other parts of the country, such as a street in Brighton, which is quickly becoming the hub of the city.

 

“The design options that have been put forward look at the way the town centre can achieve a better environment for pedestrians. We built on the ideas of the Vision for Frome document, produced in 2008, to present three options.”

 

The options range from installing a traffic signal at the bottom of Bath Street, to totally redeveloping the town centre, resurfacing the Market Place with high quality, sustainable materials and making it easier for pedestrians to cross over the road. All options focus on reducing and slowing down traffic flow through the town centre.

 

After presenting the options, Neil Swanson opened the floor to questions from the public. Concern was raised about how partially sighted people would navigate the re-modelled High Street. Neil Swanson explained that tactile paving can be used and indicators installed for those using a cane.

 

One criticism made was that the plans are “not radical enough”. However, leader of Frome Town Council, cllr Mel Usher responded, “These are feasible p

lans that can be supported by both the district and county council. We are moving quickly on this and if we do not, we could find these plans shelved for years. We need to get on with it, if we do not do it now, then we may as well all go home.” His response received wide applause.

 

The plans were on display for public view in the Cheese and Grain until Sunday 7th of October. Frome Town Council gathered feedback and comments at the public meeting as well as distributing comment sheets. The town council will now look at all feedback they have received about the plans and take forward a preferred option by the end of the month.

 

Once this option has been chosen, the town council will hold discussions with Mendip District Council and Somerset County Council on how best to deliver the re-modelled town centre.

 

 

 

THE OPTIONS

 

 

Option 1; Signal controlled crossing. This option shows how a signal controlled crossing could be placed at the foot of Bath Street hill, before reaching the Market Place. A tan coloured resin bonded gravel strip will run through the centre of the Market Place. Three car parking spaces could be removed from the Market Place car park to improve sightlines from Bath Street into the Market Place.  The police layby will be repaved to match Stony Street. However this option could prove difficult because of non-standard sight lines approaching the proposed new signalled crossing.

 

Option 2a; Super-crossing. This option looks at installing three new pedestrian crossings. One at the foot of Bath Street, one on Cork Street near the Market Place and the last one crossing the Market Place near the existing car park. The crossing outside Iceland will be retained. Paving from Stony Street will be extended to the edge of the Market Place. The pedestrian barriers on Cork Street will be removed to declutter the Market Place. The King Street junction will be a raised table similar to the one in Scott Road. The car park in the Market Place will be removed and disabled parking spaces will be provided on the opposite side of the road.

 

Various options were put forward to move Boyles Cross, currently situated in the current car park. These include moving it to the opposite side of the street, which will create more space on the current car park side for use by pedestrians. Another option considered moving the cross to the base of Stony Street. Special steel furniture will also be included, designed by local craftspeople.

 

Option 2b; Zebra crossings. This is the same as option 2a, but instead of installing three new pedestrian crossings, three zebra crossings will be used instead. The traffic signal will be retained outside Iceland.

 

Option 3; Low kerbs and courtesy crossings. Neil Swanson describes this option as “the most radical.” This option completely transforms the Market Place, by resurfacing and realigning kerbs, widening footways and providing “courtesy crossings” which mark crossing points. Drivers will drive much slower due to the design of the carriageway, making it easier for pedestrians to cross. The Market Place should be repaved and redesigned with high quality, sustainable materials. This is an opportunity for local craft people to contribute to make a unique and special place. The car park in the centre will be removed. Stony Street paving will be extended to the Market Place. There will be low kerbs that provide a tapping route for partially sighted people. Pedestrian barriers will be removed from Cork Street to declutter the Market Place.

 

 

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