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South Street Consultation Launch Statement

South Street Consultation Launch Statement

Rob Muhl, President of the Bridport Business Chamber, read out the following statement last night at the Town Council launch of the latest consultation into closing South Street, it was well received and we look forward to the next steps.

To add your voice please come along to our next meeting on April 11th or contact :

Bridport Business is an organisation for local businesses and we represent our members aims to support and improve commerce and trade in Bridport. As President and the nominated representative of the Bridport Business Chamber I would like to record the following points regarding the launch report and questionnaire:

• Bridport Business feels the report tabled to launch the consultation is vague and contains a great deal of unquantified information – what is the ‘issue’ referred to in the opening paragraphs of the report? How many residents and traders contributed to the consultation data gathered in 2001? What evidence is provided to support the requirement for the objectives provided by the Town Council? How would the success or otherwise of a trial closure be measured and quantified, and by whom? How exactly will local businesses be consulted and what form will this consultation take?
• Specifically, if the objectives listed in the report are valid and are found to be in line with the wishes of residents, what other proposals are being considered to achieve these objectives apart from the trial closure of South Street?
• The Town Council has previously indicated this consultation will be conclusive and binding; Bridport Business would like to know what the outcome will be if the consultation finds that Bridport is not in support of a trial closure – will this be an end to the uncertainty this 15 year period has placed on town centre businesses?
• The simple traffic study already carried out appears not to support a case for changes to access in South Street, however this has been discounted by the Town Council. We note a detailed traffic model is considered to be expensive and would like to know how the cost compares to the £20,000-£50,000 cost to the residents and businesses in Bridport if the trial goes ahead. Where will the money for this trial closure be found in the budget? If it goes ahead, Bridport Business members would like to know what compensation will be offered to town centre businesses to support them through any trial closure period.

In summary, on reading the proposal one member of the Chamber responded “my overriding feeling [is] that this is a very biased proposal clearly skewed to wanting the closure of South Street. I feel that the council are not wanting to pay for the detailed model so want to conduct an experiment involving the livelihood of local
businesses instead.”

An important aspect of the consultation questions should be to establish whether a respondant feels ANY change should be made to the existing access in South Street, as there is an argument for the town centre remaining as it stands at present. Initial responses across our membership have indicated the majority of our members would not be in favour of any closure of South Street or changes to access and a detailed response will be submitted as part of the consultation exercise.

Robert Muhl, President, Bridport Business Chamber

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