THE final phase of the enhancement of Barnstaple town centre riverfront will get underway next month. Following the completion of the Square before Christmas, improvements to the recently pedestrianised Strand will start on Monday (February 4). The final

THE final phase of the enhancement of Barnstaple town centre riverfront will get underway next month. Following the completion of the Square before Christmas, improvements to the recently pedestrianised Strand will start on Monday (February 4).The final phase of the £1.75million town centre scheme, funded by Devon County Council and North Devon Council, will see the provision of wider footpaths and a narrow roadway. Granite strips and kerbing to match those on the Square will be used, creating a flush surface between the road and footpaths.Since the opening of the Western Bypass the road has been closed to traffic between 10am and 6pm daily. An essential element of the scheme is that a roadway is retained to enable access to the street and to provide traffic relief should there be a need to close Taw Bridge for an emergency.Councillor Margaret Rogers, Devon County Council executive member for environment, said: "The scheme will remove the barriers between the town shopping area and the Riverfront. The work has already made walking and cycling through the town centre much easier and Barnstaple is making the most of its wonderful features."Councillor Malcolm Prowse, North Devon Council's lead member for the economy and regeneration, said: "This is an exciting time for Barnstaple. The enhancement of this public space will help open up this part of the town to visitors. We are working with local traders and the Town Council to make sure we can all make the best use of this opportunity."The enhancement will include refurbishment of listed street lighting with additional lighting to match the existing style. A wall separating the roadway and the riverfront has already been removed; footpaths will be widened and a line of cherry trees with surface mounted blue up-lighting will take its place. Some hard surfaces around the sunken quay of Queen Anne Buildings are to be landscaped with plants and lawn areas. Both councils are working closely to recycle and re-use existing materials such as stone paving and granite kerbs and stainless steel fencing and seating.Councillor Brian Greenslade, Devon County Council Leader and County Councillor for Barnstaple North, said: "These works will complete what is a transformation of the centre of Barnstaple. It will offer a huge improvement for locals and visitors to the town. The opening of the Western bypass has made this scheme possible, and it has been a good example of working together with our local government partners. We have already seen on New Year's Eve very many local people young, old and families, enjoying the newly enhanced Square and I am sure the work on the Strand will bring further enjoyment to local people."Councillor Chris Haywood, Devon County Council vice-chairman and county councillor for Barnstaple South, said: "I welcome the work on the final phase of this project which will help bring people back into the heart of the town. We have to build up the community spirit in this area to make full use of the space that will be provided."Devon County Council and North Devon Council have been working closely with the Town Council, Police and local traders to ensure that the opportunity to encourage prosperity and appropriate use of the space is maximised.The works are being carried out by South West Highways Ltd and are due to be completed by the end of April.