New lease of life for Barnstaple street
Business on the up as Newport shows encouraging signs of recovery
BUSINESS is booming in a Barnstaple street that appears to be defying the economic downturn with a new lease of life.
Changes to traffic flows on Taw Vale have also been blamed for the demise of the once bustling Newport Road, which suffered a rash of shop closures during the height of the recent recession.
But boarded up shop windows are now being replaced with smart new businesses as traders display renewed confidence in the out-of-town shopping district.
Eight new businesses have opened in the last few months, with a laundrette, hairdresser, photographer, physiotherapy clinic and dog groomer among the new arrivals.
North Devon Council Newport ward member councillor Mike Harrison said the street was looking as good as he’d seen it since the Post Office closed in 2004.
“I’m really over the moon about Newport and what’s happening down there,” he said.
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“It really did take a dive then and it got to the stage where planners were considering giving permission to change some of the shops to houses.
“But we’ve got a good mix of shops and services now and I wish all the traders every success.”
Fellow Newport ward member Cllr John Matthews said that while reasonably-price rents had enabled traders to invest in the area, new parking charges being introduced at Congrams Close would encourage shoppers to use it.
Parking will be free for the first hour, 60p for three hours and �1.60 for all day, charges that are expected to come into effect in the next few weeks.
“I think that’ll really help – it’ll be a good system,” said Cllr Matthews.
“Newport has really picked up now and the increase in businesses has made the area a lot more vibrant for shoppers.
“If people want to shop local, it’s all there for them.”
Both councillors said they still supported the re-opening of Taw Vale which they say has affected passing trade since changes to the flow of traffic in 2008.
Cllr Harrison said he felt that Newport had been badly treated by Devon County Council on the issue.
“I believe we should protect our local shopping areas but the county council just shut a road and cut it off,” he said.
Cllr Matthews said the area would benefit from Swimbridge and Landkey traffic if Taw Vale were opened.
NEWPORT is getting ready to show some real spirit this Halloween – community spirit that is.
Residents and businesses are joining forces to throw a huge street party in aid of North Devon Hospice.
The fancy dress event takes place in Orchard Road on Friday (October 28) from 6-8pm and will feature games for all the family, as well as a raffle and barbecue.
PCSO Debbie Bolsom, who is organising the event with Sue Biddicsombe, said: “It is open to all local residents and businesses; all we ask is that people bring a small donation of food or drink with them and a few pounds to buy a raffle ticket if they wish.
“All businesses have been so generous and have donated some wonderful prizes to the draw.
“It just goes to show that wonderful community spirit does still exist. As local residents, we are proud to say we live in Newport.”