The first phase of consultation took place in October 2021. Online and face-to-face questionnaires posed four open questions which used a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) approach to consider all aspects of the town centre and The Square. 152 people answered.
From the responses five options were developed. While they shared some features they generally took a different approach to addressing the issues in the first round of consultation.
Consultation on the five options took place online at wivey.co.uk from Friday 28 January 2022 to Friday 4 February 2022 and via face-to-face events held at Wiveliscombe Community Centre on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th January. The consultation was promoted via social media, email, posters and flyers delivered to every household in Wiveliscombe.
Five options (individually identified by colours) had been developed:
• Blue – Enhancements with some parking in The Square
• Green – One-way on West Street
• Orange – Raised ‘Platform’ in The Square
• Red – One way traffic in The Square, east to west
• Yellow – Enhancement of The Square, with existing traffic conditions
A plan and summary of each option was presented online and at the events. Participants were asked to give each option a score (0 for strongly dislike to 4 for strongly like). There were also opportunities to write what they liked, disliked and what they’d change on each option.
In addition to the options there were nine common features. Respondents were asked to say if they liked or disliked the features and had the opportunity to leave further comments.
A summary report from the consultation is below.
Detailed reports from the online and face-to-face consultation are also available:
The website had 751 visitors during the consultation period while the face-to-face events were attended by approximately 100 people.
1,324 votes were cast on the options and the common features during the consultation (671 online and 653 at the events). 221 comments were left online and further (uncounted) comments made verbally or in writing at and after the events.
The average scores for each of the options were as follows:
Both the online and face-to-face events placed the green, orange and yellow options in the top three. However the online event found the green and yellow options to have the equal highest average score while the events found the orange option to have the highest average score.
The least popular options were red and blue.
Combining the averages of the online and face-to-face events, the green option (one-way on West St) provides the highest average score, closely followed by the orange option (platform in The Square).
In terms of the common features the online and face-to-face events had little difference with all supporting new paving, one or two more trees, a marked loading bay in West St and The Square, planters to prevent vehicles driving onto the pedestrianised part of The Square, reinstatement of the Town Hall portico, and new seats.
There was opposition to removing the existing tree and / or the seats.
The events had a lower level of overall support for pavement widening than the online consultation.
Online opinion was split as to the future of the artwork in The Square while the face-to-face events were firmly in favour of its removal.
The additional comments received represent a diversity of opinions especially on matters of parking and traffic management. They can be read in the attached reports (see above).
In addition to the results from the scoring, the conclusions drawn from the consultation are as follows:
- Make a place that puts people first, not vehicles
- Retain current trees and add another one or two
- Retain the seats with a preferred location by a tree
- Reduce clutter and improve design in The Square
- Remove or relocate the artwork
- Install obstacles to prevent vehicles going on pedestrian part of The Square but favour, for example, blocks of carved stone as opposed to planters (maintenance and upkeep problem) or bollards
- Need to support businesses working in the town square
- Part-time delivery bay in The Square with short-term parking allowed at other times
- Part-time delivery bay in West Street
- Avoid loss of on-street parking spaces
- Use pavement widening to prevent parking on corners
- There are no alternative routes for through-traffic from / to north of Wiveliscombe to be diverted away from The Square
- Bear in mind requirements of large vehicles that have no option but to drive through The Square
- Ensure turning into Silver Street and into archways off High Street is still possible
- 20mph limit through the central area
- Pedestrian crossing in The Square to dropped kerbs on both sides
- Replace existing paving with natural stone and replace bricks
- Retain bus stops in The Square
- Consider reversing the proposed one-way in West St so that direction of travel is west to east
- Encourage maintenance needed for buildings in and around The Square, including Day Lewis chemists
- Support for the Town Hall Trust generally and especially to reinstate the portico
- Better signage for pedestrians and drivers.
The scores on the options and all the comments made will inform the final proposals for The Square and town centre. These proposals will be prepared during March-April.
A few stakeholders are being asked for their comments on the emerging proposals. These include First Bus, local businesses, Wessex Water, the Fire Station and the Town Council.
It is expected that the final proposals will be completed in May. They will then be released with a final round of consultation, with a report to follow to the Town Council in June.