WITH placard in hand residents and traders gathered afront Forde House in protest against changes to Newton Abbot’s Queen Street, as Teignbridge District Council (TDC) heard a motion to ‘park the project plan for the street’ from the South Devon Alliance (SDA).

The motion, which was put forward by Cllr Richard Daws and seconded by Cllr Andrew MacGregor, needed the support of two thirds of the councillors present for it to be debated there and then during Tuesday’s [October 17] meeting.

Alas, it did not receive sufficient support: 11 in favour, 18 against and four abstensions.

The matter will, therefore, be discussed by the Executive Committee at a later, as yet unconfirmed, date.

Leader of the South Devon Alliance, Cllr Richard Daws, said: ‘We put the motion to the council to debate and review the decision for Queen Street today.

‘The Lib Dems have consistently misrepresented the position that there is support for the scheme.

‘During the presentation I quoted in granular detail from the 2020, and two 2022 consultations all of which demonstrate the scheme does not hold the support of residents and traders for the removal of parking and prohibition of general traffic from Queen Street.

‘Sadly the Lib Dems refused the opportunity to debate this today [Tuesday, October 17], when many traders had taken time out of their day, probably as they know their arguments have no basis.

‘All consultations suggest that 76% or more of traders object to the scheme, we are now getting traders who had originally supported it saying they would now like to join the campaign, as they didn’t fully understand how damaging this would be to their business.

‘Given the council are indicating they will only make changes around the edges, we will need to look at other ways to demonstrate that Martin Wrigley’s Lib Dems and Phil Bullivants Conservatives do not represent the views and wishes of the residents of Newton Abbot.’

The mood was sombre elsewhere, in particualr among the people who turned to protest, many of whom are members of the newly formed Queen Street Traders and Residents Association: the Chairman for which is Claire Quelvennec of Jackson’s Fish and Chips.

Roger Cox of Phoenix Sound, Newton Abbot’s premier record shop, was among those protestors.

‘When they did the drains, we lost 48% of our takings that week - it was really bad’ Roger said. If it goes ahead we are going to have move before we go bankrupt - we’ll be out of town in a hut!’ he added.

Leader of Teignbridge District Council, Cllr Martin Wrigley, in his opening remarks announced officers have been asked to: prepare a report to clarify and simplify the signage into Queen Street; to meet with traders to discuss and explain the changes and prepare a report on the difficulties and finally to work with traders to clarify any concerns, and what can be done over the change and afterward to help them, such as with marketing and advertising.