'Ban cars from High St'
A MAJORITY of respondents to the latest council survey about how to revive Kingswood's shopping centre have backed plans to ban cars.
More than 600 people took part in the research between May 7 and June 7 and 67 per cent supported pedestrianisation of Regent Street, with traffic diverted to the north or south.
The informal survey was to gauge public opinion before South Gloucestershire Council finalised its bid for funding under the Government's Future High Streets programme. If this is successful, a formal consultation will take place on the various options.
'Neglected, old, off-putting and bleak'
KINGSWOOD’S main shopping area is seen as "left behind, with lots to fix", a survey has revealed.
South Gloucestershire Council carried out what it describes as an additional public engagement exercise as part of the preparation for its business case for money from the Government’s Future High Streets fund.
People were asked to come up with three words to describe Kingswood High Street now and the most common responses were neglected, old, off-putting and bleak.
Asked how they’d like it to be in the future, respondents said pleasant, vibrant, up-to-date and with a greater variety of shops.
The report concludes: “The most vital improvement will be updating the feel of the whole street to be more attractive, modern, and looked-after.”
It says the most popular ideas were food or farmers’ markets, more outdoor eating and on-street trading and more affordable accommodation.
The council received 603 responses to the survey, which took place between May 7 and June 7. This compares with 244 responses to its initial consultation last year.
Sixty seven per cent of respondents supported pedestrianisation of Regent Street in principle, with no strong opinions as to whether traffic should be diverted to the north via Kimberley Road, Gilbert Road and Park Road or to the south via Blackhorse Road and Cecil Road.
The council has stressed that this is an informal process and any plan to back traffic would be put out for full consultation on all the options. It says further work would be needed to address issues raised by businesses and residents.
Overall, it says, it is “seeking to develop a family-friendly economy that will increase footfall and challenge the issues of congestion and poor air quality in areas most densely used by shoppers and visitors.”
The findings of the informal survey will be submitted as part of South Gloucestershire’s business case and the council says it is encouraged by the support for its key proposals.
Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore said: "I am delighted to see there is continuing momentum to regenerate our local area.
“The high level of engagement, interest and support shown by local residents for these ambitious plans will help make the case for further funding to unlock Kingswood's potential and bring even more opportunities for local residents and businesses."