Herald Express (Torbay, Brixham & South Hams Edition)

Work on course with good news for Strand traders about holiday season

- By PAUL GREAVES paul.greaves@reachplc.com @DevonLiveN­ews

WORK to transform the harboursid­e area of Torquay is still on schedule and will be finished later this year – despite a few hiccups.

That’s the promise of Torbay Council which is overseeing one of the biggest revamp projects seen in the town for decades.

The latest pictures from the site show the second phase of the constructi­on work well under way. Much of the old road has been dug up, there are metal barriers along the pavements and traffic cones stationed along the carriagewa­y. Traffic management systems and temporary lights are in place along Torwood Street, Victoria Parade and Strand junctions.

In February, the council updated its timeline for the five-phase project which started late last year and when finished will create a pedestrian-friendly concourse around the harbour. Delays with the first phase of the project caused a slight revision and there were fears the ongoing wet weather would stall the project even further.

But Councillor Chris Lewis, deputy leader of the council, said the work was still progressin­g well after a good Easter period.

He said: “We are still on schedule, we are not facing any delays and expect a full opening in the autumn. The work went well over Easter and we had two lanes opened as we promised during the school holidays.”

He acknowledg­ed there has been criticism of the delays faced by motorists and disruption to business.

“No one wants to be disruptive but ultimately this is good for the long term of Torbay and will transform the harboursid­e of Torquay. We found the same disruption with Palm Court [a former hotel site redevelope­d into accommodat­ion and restaurant­s] now it is one of the best sites in Torquay.”

He said the Strand revamp was part of a bigger scheme that will see the Debenhams building replaced and future outlined for the Pavilion. “Once complete I think people who haven’t been to Torquay for a while will be amazed by the transforma­tion,” said Cllr Lewis.

The works are part of a multi-million-pound project to revamp the Strand, opening up a wide harboursid­e boulevard for pedestrian­s.

Motorists and bus passengers have encountere­d significan­t delays since the start of the second phase in February. Traffic has been reduced to a single lane of traffic, controlled by traffic lights.

The project is the first of the harboursid­e’s regenerati­on projects that will bring about significan­t change to Torquay town centre. The project has been made possible after the Torbay council secured £21.9 million of Government Town Deal Funding to deliver the Torquay town investment plan.

Changes to how the work is completed are currently under way. This phase is expected to last until June but the council now says the road will not be shut over the main summer months.

Torbay Council says: “Officers have started to explore options that would see the remaining phases of the project delivered in a different way. A range of options are being considered and worked through with the contractor, particular­ly when it comes to the timing of the road closure part of the project. The outcome of this work is expected to be shared with businesses and residents later in the spring.

“To further support businesses and the tourism sector, two-way traffic will be in operation over the main summer months. Exact timings will be confirmed in due course.”

 ?? Paul Greaves ?? ⟫Work is well under way on improvemen­ts to the Strand in Torquay
Paul Greaves ⟫Work is well under way on improvemen­ts to the Strand in Torquay

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