A MAJOR facelift is on the way for Exeter's Central Station.
The changes, set to be approved by Devon's Cabinet, will mean an end to the 17 car parking spaces in front of the station. They have been the subject of a host of stories involving motorists who think they have been unfairly clamped or fined.
The scheme is costing £660,000, with a contribution of £315,000 from Devon County Council, £185,000 from Exeter City Council and £160,000 from Network Rail.
First Great Western has already spent some £750,000 on improvements to the station, including the restoration of the booking hall to its original central position.
To enhance the approach to the station the forecourt will be pedestrianised with natural stone paving and landscaped with trees in such a way that they improve the view of the station frontage.
In addition, the new forecourt could be used by the cafes and retailers on the crescent.
The bus stop will stay although the shelter will be improved and there will also be drop-off and loading bays for up to five vehicles.
Parking for cyclists will also be improved with around 16 cycle hoops, providing parking for up to 32 cycles.
And if further funding is forthcoming from the Department for Transport there are further plans to create a cycle hub.
A Dutch concept, it would include secure cycle storage, basic repair and maintenance facilities, bike hire and supporting activities. It is hoped that the hub would be located in a vacant unit on the crescent.
Councillor Rachel Sutton, Exeter's portfolio holder for sustainable development and transport, said: "Exeter is a great city, it's a very attractive city and we want to ensure that visitors and commuters arrive at somewhere that is pleasant and attractive.
"The city council is working with Network Rail and Devon County Council on this and it is a great example of what can be done when we work together. It is all part of the way that Exeter is continuing on an upward trend, unlike many other cities."
Cllr Sutton added: "The paving in front of the station will match that leading into Northernhay gardens and hopefully this will encourage people to walk through the gardens if they are going to the John Lewis side of the city centre.
"The gardens look stunning at the moment."
The changes have also been welcomed by city centre manager John Harvey. He said: "The important things is that we give the best possible first impression to our visitors when they arrive in the city."