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Cobbles for Palmer Street to encourage more visitors to Frome

PALMER Street is to be cobbled, matching the cobbles in Stony Street and Catherine Hill. 

The town council hopes it will boost the St Catherine’s area and encourage more people to visit.

Peter Wheelhouse, Economic Development and Regeneration Manager at Frome Town Council said, ‘Some years ago, historic streets such as Catherine Hill and Stony Street received investment that have helped to transform the St. Catherine’s area and make it the popular area it has now become.  Somerset County Council were planning to resurface Palmer Street anyway as part of their ongoing maintenance of the highway.  They have now agreed to do so in a way that makes the street much more attractive and in keeping with the rest of St. Catherine’s.

“The proposal is to replace the tarmac with natural stone setts and make it much easier for pedestrians and vehicles to share the space.  The works will be funded jointly by the Town Council using its earmarked reserve for town centre remodelling and Somerset County Council using its maintenance budget.  We have also had the offer of a contribution from a private property owner.

“We will shortly be consulting with the St. Catherine’s Traders Association that represent business interests in the area with the plan being to implement the works in early 2014.

“We hope that this investment will encourage more people to visit the St. Catherine’s area and result in greater investment in what is rapidly becoming the town’s restaurant and independent shopping quarter.

“We are seeing these proposals as the first part of a broader scheme to improve the appearance of the town centre and make it more pedestrian friendly.   As many people in the town will be aware, the feasibility study we completed in 2012 concluded that there would be benefit to the town from improving pedestrian movement in the Market Place and approach roads through traffic calming and new townscape design.

“We have also received the conclusions of a report by Somerset County Council into the impact of reducing vehicle speeds within the Market Place should such a scheme be implemented in the future.

“The conclusion was that given the relatively short length of road affected, this is unlikely to be perceived by many drivers as a significant change in travel time.  So the diversion of a significant amount of traffic away from the town centre would be unlikely.  There is more work that we need to do before proposals for the Market Place can be brought forward but the outcome of this report is very encouraging.”