Public will have say on Cirencester town regeneration scheme
CONCERNED residents and businesses could soon have the chance to scrutinise £1.4m Market Place plans for Cirencester, following a public backlash.
A poll on the Standard’s website revealed 72 per cent of respondents wanted to have a referendum on the shared space scheme, which could be submitted for planning approval next month.
Market Place business owner Jonathan Davies, of Lock Stock and Barrel, joined several readers in calling on the council to re-think plans following the referendum results.
“This scheme could destroy the town and ruin many businesses in the process,” he said. “I believe the town council has a duty to share all the plans and costings with the businesses and residents in the town and allow them the final say on this scheme.”
Now the town council has confirmed that it intends to hold further discussion sessions with residents on the scheme, but it is not yet clear if this will be before a planning application is submitted.
Cirencester mayor Andy Lichnowski said: “Further to recent coverage about the proposed improvements to the Market Place, the Town Council will be exploring opportunities for the public to have a say on the plans and to look at the detail, as well as funding options.”
Stratton resident Nigel Robbins has spent nearly two decades supporting improvements in the town centre as a member of the non-political Action Cirencester group.
He agreed that more consultation was needed, but only to iron out misunderstandings on the scheme.
“People think there will be a total pedestrianisation, but that’s not the case – traffic and buses will still flow through the Market Place,” Mr Robbins said “Other people have said the money should be spent on improving pavements instead, but they’ve missed the point. Removing and replacing the cracked pavement is at the heart of the scheme.”
He said high quality materials had made the project more expensive, but it was what the “beautiful” and “unique” Cotswold town deserved.
Commenting on calls for a referendum, Mr Robbins added the town council had given local residents and businesses plenty of opportunities to comment on the scheme.
“If elected representatives have been discussing something with local people for a long time, they are then undermined if it is thrown out to the randomness of a referendum,” he said.