TRADERS and residents in Queen Street are launching a last ditch attempt to overturn plans to change the road. 

The Queen Street Traders and Residents Association is asking Newton Abbot Town Council to call a parish meeting on the controversial issue followed by a parish poll

Association chairman Claire Quelvennec has written to the town council asking that, given the ‘huge’ concerns raised since proposals for Queen Street were first put forward, through the consultations and since the traffic orders were passed in June, that the town council looks to take further action.

A letter to the Newton Abbot Mayor Cllr David Corney-Walker asks that he call a parish meeting. 

The letter says: ‘We would propose that at that meeting a Parish Poll be undertaken so that the residents of Newton Abbot can have their say on Queen Street.   

‘This is a matter that affects the town council, which has been a consultee on the project since its conception. 

‘As a key shopping street that the town council employs a town centre manager to oversee, the success of any developments in this area are directly linked to the future prosperity of the town.  ‘Our concerns are founded on the widespread belief that Teignbridge District Council and Devon County Council have both ignored and misrepresented their own consultation results relating to Queen Street, while incomprehensibly passing the traffic orders.’

The association says that while parts of the scheme such as the 20mph limit and adding trees to the street, are supported, the main elements - prohibiting access to Queen Street, Devon Square and adjacent roads and the removal of on-street parking - do not have the backing of residents or businesses. 

Ms Quelvennec says it is ‘quite the opposite: any casual reader of the consultation’s findings would conclude that both residents and traders have made strong objection to these elements’.  

The association also claims it is advised that the traffic orders relating to Devon Square are ‘unlawful’ and it appears that these changes were never even consulted upon. 

She says: ‘We are concerned that the two authorities have failed to undertake a proper duty of care in their consultations and decision-making processes.  

‘We will be proposing at the Parish Meeting that a Parish Poll is undertaken so that the residents of Newton Abbot can have their say, and conclude definitively the position of the town on this matter.    

The plans for Queen Street have prompted widespread criticism and complaints that they will have a negative impact on the town. 

Devon County Council and Teignbridge Council have devised the scheme to ‘enhance the pedestrian experience’.

The plans include widened pavements, improved crossings, more planting and seating, parking reductions and traffic restrictions.

Work on the scheme, which is due to start in the summer of 2024, has received funds from Future High Street Funding and Active Travel funding.

Traders and residents have taken to the streets and protested at Teignbridge Council’s Forde House headquarters against the proposals saying they will negatively impact the area and deter people. 

Teignbridge District Council leader Martin Wrigley has said that, without change, ‘Queen Street will die’.

Teignbridge Council has said there would be restricted car access and enhanced space and greenery to make the area safer and more attractive.