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Meeting discusses future of Bridgwater's West Quay
CYCLE routes, pedestrianisation and on-street trading were the main topics of debate at a meeting discussing the future of Bridgwater's West Quay.
Businesses, residents and ward councillors gathered at Homecastle House in West Quay last week to quiz key authorities behind plans to make a stretch of road from the Town Bridge to Castle Street traffic-free.
The river wall collapsed in November 2011 and work to breathe new life into the area by pedestrianising part of it is anticipated to be finished by October 23.
However, as reported, traders are concerned about two-way traffic using part of West Quay for new access to Northgate car park, preferring a one-way system from the Castle Street area.
But the meeting, chaired by Westover councillor Brian Smedley, was told the plans were already being implemented.
Somerset County Council engineer, Steve Gooding, who took over the project in March this year, added: “Time will tell how it will work once it's done.”
There will be an assessment of the scheme a few months after work is complete and further checks within a year.
Alison Griffin, Sedgemoor District Council corporate director, said: “If it isn't working then the plans will go back through the system to be reviewed.”
A cycle path will be created along West Quay from funding granted through the Bridgwater Way project.
However, traders are concerned plans suggest the cycle lane could be between shop fronts and the roadway, which would be between any future tables and chairs and could create a safety hazard.
Erdal Sahin, owner of the Green Olive restaurant on West Quay, said: “What about the safety of my customers who could be knocked over by a speeding cyclist as they exit the restaurant?
“We thought the area would see 'coffee culture' dining, but that will be hard with cyclists rushing around.”
Options were suggested to either divert a cycle path to the opposite bank of the river or to channel it along the riverside of West Quay.
The meeting heard four businesses want tables and chairs outside their shops. They were asked to submit licence applications for on-street trading and were told Sedgemoor District Council will look at providing financial support to improve shop fronts.
But Adrian Fraser, chairman of the action group and owner of West Quay Records, said: “West Quay has got to be for everybody - from restaurant owners and shops to the residents and visitors.”
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