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Penzance promotes green travel with pedestrianisation trial

 

Joint media release issued on behalf of Sustainable Penzance, Penzance BID (Business Improvement District), Penzance Council and Cornwall Council:

 

Penzance has unveiled bold new plans to help tackle the climate emergency and make the town more pedestrian-friendly, boost the high street and keep shoppers safe.

The trial scheme, developed by Cornwall Council in partnership with Penzance Council, Penzance BID and Sustainable Penzance, includes proposals to cut through-traffic from Penzance town centre; pedestrianise Market Jew Street; modify the Branwells Mill circular traffic system; reduce traffic on Western Promenade Road and extend the 20mph zone.

Work will be phased with the pedestrianistion of Market Jew Street taking place first and other measures to follow to minimise disruption.

Already recognised as the country’s first town with plastic-free status with a commitment to create a car-free town centre, improve cycle and pedestrian access and reduce carbon emissions, Penzance is now planning to build on its green credentials by introducing measures aimed at making the town a thriving place for the future.

With the development of the Penzance Neighbourhood Plan and last year’s Expo event seeing increasing calls from residents to tackle traffic issues and pedestrianise key areas of the town, work has been taking place to develop detailed proposals to reduce through- traffic in the town centre, increase opportunities for walking and cycling, and improve public transport.

The recent decision to close Chapel Street to vehicles on Thursday to Sunday evenings to provide more outdoor space for café, bars, pubs and restaurants, has also led to more support for the idea to pedestrianise Market Jew Street and the Promenade.

Originally due to be introduced in September, the impact of COVID-19 and the need to maximise public safety with the reopening of businesses and relaxation of licensing restrictions has led to the scheme being brought forward to August.

Cornwall Council is promoting green and active travel under its climate change action plan to help Cornwall become carbon neutral by 2030.

Rachel Yates from the community interest company Sustainable Penzance which aims to co-ordinate work in the town to protect the environment and create a more sustainable way of living, said: “Reducing traffic in the town is vital to cutting carbon emissions and reducing air pollution. It is also a key part of our commitment to promoting and enabling sustainable transport, in order to tackle the climate emergency. This trial is a great, positive first step in that journey.”

Partners are now working together to finalise the details of the scheme. This includes ensuring the proposals consider the needs of people with mobility issues and those living in rural areas, as well as continuing to provide sufficient parking for those living and working in the town.

Once approved, the trial scheme will be implemented under an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) process, with the measures remaining in place for the next 12 months. This means that any parts of the scheme which are not working as expected can be modified at any time without having to wait for the end of the trial.

Nick Hood, Chair of Penzance BID, said: “We know that town centres need to change if they are going to thrive in the future. “By creating a better environment for our residents, we can attract new investment and businesses to our town, and help Penzance to become a real flagship community”.

While access to the town centre will be maintained for emergency vehicles, buses and taxis, as well as for people who live and work in the immediate area, the scheme will use signage and lane markings to direct other motorists to use different routes into and around the town, as well as encouraging more people to leave their cars at home and walk, cycle or use public transport when visiting Penzance.

Councillor Nicole Broadhurst, the Mayor of Penzance, said: “COVID-19 has bought about a huge change in people’s travel habits. By working together to develop these proposals we can build on this change and revitalise our town centre in a sustainable way. The introduction of this trial scheme shows just what we can achieve when everyone works together.

Penzance Cornwall Councillor Jim McKenna said: “This is an exciting opportunity to trial a scheme which not only helps us manage the immediate challenges presented by COVID-19 but also deals with the wider challenges of climate change.

“Many of these proposals were already being considered before the pandemic. This crisis has provided the opportunity to accelerate the trial, transform our town centre and make sure Penzance is a thriving place for the future."

Cornwall’s portfolio holder for transport Councillor Geoff Brown said: “This innovative trial scheme has been driven by Penzance and will benefit the community in providing residents with more opportunities for green travel, enjoyment of their outdoor environment and revitalising the town centre.

“This is a great example of how Cornwall Council is supporting and facilitating community schemes to reduce carbon emissions and how we can join forces to help tackle the climate emergency together and improve the environment for everyone.”

Story posted on July 20, 2020