Barring vehicles from Ilfracombe’s main street is one idea being considered to help boost the town economy.

CLOSING Ilfracombe High Street to traffic is one option being considered as a way to boost tourism in the town.

A task group has been investigating a package of measures to regenerate the street and support its traders, among them the idea of returning it to pedestrians, either full time or for a few weeks at the height of the summer.

The group is made up of town and district councillors, as well as the Joint Delivery Team of North Devon Plus and local business people.

“We recognise if Ilfracombe High Street is to thrive, we have to make the shopping experience as enjoyable as it can be,” said the Mayor, Councillor Rod Donovan.

“The busy road and cramped pavements with regular traffic chaos from unloading lorries detracts from the experience. We have lots to offer with our unique shops and we want to capitalise on this by reducing traffic flow in one way or another and developing the cafe culture theme that has been so successful in other areas.”

A traffic management report has been produced by Devon County Council which looks at the options and Steve Seatherton from North Devon Plus said it indicated the roads around the High Street could take the changed traffic movement.

“We would not want to kill the High Street to detract from it. We need to decide if it’s the right thing for Ilfracombe and leads to talking to High Street traders, residents and a lot of work looking at the impact it would have.”

The group is also looking at a range of measures that could help traffic flow and boost tourism, including park and ride schemes, car parking times and charges plus signage.

A consultation with businesses is planned for early 2012 and then a full public consultation. Views can be emailed to andreabeacham@northdevon.gov.uk or posted online at www.theilfracombecentre.co.uk/ilfracombe-forum.