Traffic is set to be barred from more parts of Barnstaple town centre with an extension of the pedestrian area to help improve social distancing.

The road connecting Queen Street and Bear Street in Barnstaple will be closed to traffic apart from buses and taxis. Picture: Sarah HowellsThe road connecting Queen Street and Bear Street in Barnstaple will be closed to traffic apart from buses and taxis. Picture: Sarah Howells

The temporary traffic restrictions from Devon County Council are expected on July 10 and will apply from 10am to 4pm and prevent motor vehicle access to Cross Street and Butchers Row.

In addition, vehicle access except for buses and taxis will be banned to Queen Street and Boutport Street between its junctions with Mallets Lane, Bear Street and The Square.

A county council spokesman said: “With restrictions continuing to ease and large parts of the economy set to reopen, including the tourism and hospitality industry, our high streets and tourist destinations will become busier again.

“These temporary restrictions are aimed at helping pedestrians maintain social distancing within the town centre and enable businesses to make use of additional highway space.”

The temporary changes scheduled for Barnstaple town centre that will see more roads pedestrianised. Picture: Devon County CouncilThe temporary changes scheduled for Barnstaple town centre that will see more roads pedestrianised. Picture: Devon County Council

The measures will be in place for a temporary period up to 18 months, but DCC has said it will monitor and adjust them if necessary.

There has already been discontent with the plans. Barnstaple county councillor Brian Greenslade asked why as the local councillor he did not see the letter sent out to businesses but read about it on Facebook.

He said: “There should be a proper consultation as there always is with changes to traffic orders and I demand that work stops to allow for normal traffic order consultation to take place and any objections considered by the local Hatoc (Highways and Traffic Orders Committee) before any changes are made.

“It is absurd given other DCC policies about access for the disabled that disabled parking spaces should be removed by the changes proposed.”

Helen Walker is the North Devon Council member for Bickington, as well as a wheelchair user. She said: “The closure of the bottom of Boutport Street between Queens Street and the square is unnecessary and will cause immense difficulties for disabled people wanting to access shops at the Youings end of High Street.

“There are no close public car parks and no benches to allow those who can walk just a short distance to rest. The majority of the taxi ranks are also on this section of road.

“All these roads currently have limited access, taxis , loading and Blue Badge holders.

“This is yet again an example of Devon County Council running roughshod over the town and district councils, who actually know and understand the area.”