The £1.5 million regeneration of Dawlish Strand will get underway on Monday 21 January.
The scheme, which is a joint initiative between Devon County, Teignbridge District and Dawlish Town Councils, has been developed over the past two and a half years, with two public consultations being held to help shape the layout.
The footpath outside shops on the north side of the street will be widened and repaved in high quality natural Yorkstone slabs, and new granite kerbs will be installed. Parking and loading bays will also be added on this side of the road.
The existing stone wall between The Strand and the Lawn will also be removed to integrate the two areas and a new Yorkstone footway will be created adjacent to the Lawn on the south side of the street.
Raised crossing points will be provided throughout the street as a traffic calming measure and to create a safe and defined crossing for pedestrians. The road will be reconstructed as part of the work and new street furniture will be installed.
In addition, Teignbridge District Council and Dawlish Town Council will be re-grading the bank between The Strand and the Lawn, and demolishing the existing concrete shelter facing the bowling green.
The scheme has also been co-ordinated to enable BT Open Reach, Wales and West Utilities, Western Power Distribution and South West Water to carry out work at the same time.
The majority of the work will be carried out with the road open to traffic. The road will then be closed from Monday 28 January to Sunday 10 February, to enable a South West Water mains diversion. There will be another closure of the road planned from Monday 15 April to Sunday 28 April, for the reconstruction of the road.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said:
“A lot of work has gone into the development of this scheme and we have ensured that it combines the work of our partners at Teignbridge District Council and Dawlish Town Council, to provide a significant saving to the public purse. Although some disruption is inevitable everything possible is being done to keep it to a minimum, and long term Dawlish town centre should really benefit from this facelift.”
Councillor John Clatworthy, Deputy Leader of Devon County Council and local County Councillor for Dawlish, said: “This is an important investment for the economy of Dawlish and consultation has been key to this scheme. We arrived at Dawlish with a blank sheet of paper and it has been developed in close co-operation with people in the town as well as Teignbridge District Council, Dawlish Town Council and The Dawlish Chamber of Trade.”
Teignbridge District Council’s Leader Cllr Jeremy Christophers said: “Working together with lots of input from local people helps achieve the best results for residents, visitors and businesses. This scheme will make Dawlish safer, brighter and better for people who live, work and visit the town now and well into the future.
“We’ve already invested in Dawlish with some innovative new ideas and initiatives from fingerpost signs which highlight some of the town’s best places, to helping create the new post of Town Development Manager who will work with traders to revitalise the local economy. Yes, there will be some short term disruption – and we are all going to try and make sure it’s kept to a minimum – but Dawlish will really reap the rewards in the longer term.”
Councillor Pauline Bloomfield, the Town Mayor, said:
“The Strand enhancement works will be the first major contribution to the life of the town to have emerged from several Dawlish Regeneration Studies which have included ideas from Yellow Book and the Amberline Coast Study. The public have been actively involved in reaching the final design for these improvements which are constrained by the old street pattern and the deep valley that produces the mild climate of Dawlish. After a long gestation we are now eagerly looking forward to seeing the work start and real changes appear in our town that will bring renewed interest by tourists and regular visitors.”
Dawlish Chamber of Trade has vowed to keep shops and businesses open and trading. David Force, Chairman of the Dawlish Chamber of Trade, said: “Dawlish town centre has not been shopper friendly or car-friendly for many years and we see this as a terrific opportunity to reverse the decline we have seen in recent times. It won’t be an immediate turn around, we see the regeneration as a first step on the road to recovery.
“But, we can’t do it on our own. We need the support and good will of the townsfolk to help make this work. We are asking residents to buy locally as much as possible. It really is a case of ‘Use Us Or Lose Us. You will be sorry when we’re gone’.”
JTT Contracting of Exeter, which has previously carried out schemes in Exeter High Street, will carry out the work.