Parts of Barnstaple town centre could become completely pedestrianised during the daytime if new proposals go ahead.

Cross Street in Barnstaple. Picture: GoogleCross Street in Barnstaple. Picture: Google

North Devon Highways and Traffic Orders Committee is being recommended to back a consultation to ban all traffic from entering Cross Street between 10am and 4pm when it meets on Thursday (June 20).

Vehicles are already prohibited from accessing Cross Street at any time, Monday to Friday, and on Saturday between 10am and 4pm, but with an exception for loading, taxis and blue badge holders.

The proposals would mean Cross Street, the High Street and Butchers Row cannot be accessed by vehicles during the day, ending conflict between pedestrians and vehicles.

The proposals follow a walking tour of Barnstaple with a representative from the Royal National Institute for the Blind that took place in 2017 that identified six highway hazards in the area.

Butchers Row in Barnstaple.Butchers Row in Barnstaple.

A report from Meg Booth, Devon County Council's chief officer for highways, infrastructure, development and waste, said: "There is traffic order in place at Cross Street that prohibits all vehicles Monday - Friday at any time, with exemptions for blue badge holders, taxis and for loading.

"Observations have identified that authorised vehicles enter Cross Street daily. However, an equal number of vehicles are illegally using this route. Cross Street is pedestrianised on a Saturday in line with the High Street with no apparent adverse effects on business."

Her report also refers to a fatal incident that took place in September 2016 between a pedestrian and vehicle on the corner of High Street and Butchers Row that saw the a delivery driver being found guilty of death by careless driving, as well as two other less serious collisions that had taken place.

North Devon Council had previously been in favour of the proposals, her report says, but following the recent local elections which saw the leadership of the council change, she said it is considered prudent to seek views of new multi-party leadership, and if appropriate ask them to seek the views of their Committees with responsibility for Taxi Licensing and Car Parking.

The report adds: "Barnstaple Town Centre Management have been contacted and are in full support of the proposal and have offered assistance as part of any consultation."

Businesses in Cross Street do not have any other facility for deliveries and may be apprehensive to the proposal, the report states, but says businesses in the High Street that have successfully adapted their trading pattern to accommodate loading/unloading outside of the 10am - 4pm pedestrianisation.

If agreed following the consultation, properties and businesses in Cross Street and Butchers Row will lose existing loading, taxi and disabled parking facilities between the hours of 10am and 4pm, and her report says that both Devon County Council and North Devon Council would have to work together to provide alternative provision in the area.