Regenerating Newton Abbot
A longstanding desire to secure landmark buildings and reinvigorate the centre of Newton Abbot took a major step forward when in Spring 2019 we successfully bid for a share of the Government’s £1 billion Future High Street Fund (FHSF).
We have secured £9.2 million funding and the project’s updated business plan identifies that the multi-million-pound investment would realise a wider economic benefit to the town of £42.3 million, boost property values and create 70 new FTE jobs.
What will the new town centre look like?
The regeneration plans build on the 800-year history of Newton Abbot as a market town, creating a modern centre that embraces sustainable travel and encourages people to shop, buy, eat and socialise locally. Our aim is to boost footfall and increase spending in the town, supporting local businesses.
Space for community, artistic and cultural activities will be created alongside a revitalised market, food hall and Market Square. A new state-of-the-art cinema will be built and significant improvements made to Queen Street and the National Cycle Network Route.
At an extraordinary council meeting in November 2022, Councillors agreed to remove the Alexandra Theatre building from the FHSF regeneration plans. This meant that:
- The wall between the market hall and the cinema is being retained
- A smaller entertainment space will be created
- Greater retail diversity will be pursued, including a food court
We are currently working on the detail of these revised plans and are engaging with traders, local organisations and community groups as these evolve so that we can maximise the shopping and cultural experience. We plan to hold a public exhibition of these proposals when finalised.
A planning application for the proposed new four screen cinema has been submitted and discussions continue with cinema operators.
Alexandra Cinema building
Having removed the building from the FHSF plans, no decision will now be made on its long-term future until the new cinema is built.
The Grade ll listed building has been classed by the Council as an Asset of Community Value so time will be allowed for community or voluntary sector groups to bid for it. It is envisaged that if the building became vacant it could be offered for rent, on a long leasehold or sold and that the building could be used for arts and culture, food and drink, live music and events.
In summer 2020, we ran a public consultation to shape the early design proposals and a summary of the feedback was published.
Following this, in summer 2022, Devon County Council encouraged local people to comment on proposals of more detailed design plans, to make Queen Street a more attractive, safe and healthy place for visitors and businesses.
Among the consultation proposals were giving shoppers more space to access shops and services by widening pavements; improving crossings; more planting and public seating; and introducing a 20mph speed limit between The Avenue and Courtenay Street. The proposals would be achieved by localised parking reduction.
A consultation report prepared by Devon County Council’s transportation planning team showed that the proposals were largely supported.
Three Traffic Regulation Orders were subsequently produced as the first step to implementing the proposed improvements. Residents and businesses were able to comment on these Orders in autumn 2022
In the light of the feedback extensive discussions took place with key local stakeholders and HATOC subsequently approved the implementation of the Orders on 1 June 2023. Appendix 3 of the report includes the responses made to the consultation and Devon County Council’s responses to these.
Devon County Council’s Cabinet approved the final scheme proposals and budget in July 2023. The final Queen Street scheme proposals have been reached via multiple changes to reflect feedback throughout the various consultation processes, including those set out below:
- The retention of more parking spaces than previously proposed, particularly at the eastern end of the 1-way stretch of Queen Street
- Further blue badge holder parking
- The inclusion of a formal pedestrian crossing just west of the War Memorial
- Raised tables at side roads along Queen Street for ease of pedestrian movement (in particular to support pedestrians with reduced mobility)
- The specific locations for tree planting having been identified
- Additional loading bay provision.
The physical scheme delivery is expected to begin in spring/summer 2024 and information will be shared to inform all local stakeholders including local residents, businesses and shoppers. Once delivered, there will be monitoring of the scheme to evaluate outputs.
An update leaflet was produced during November 2023, to provide clear and concise information about the Queen Street scheme, including a summary of the key changes with an overview map, the rationale for the scheme, key consultation feedback figures, and an image showing a species option for the urban tree planting.
National Cycle Network Route 2 (NCN2)
This project focuses on improving the quality of the stretch of NCN2 that serves the central area of Newton Abbot and connects into wider leisure routes and commuting provision for active travel. The improvements include better provision for safety at junctions, greater legibility for the route so it’s clearer and easier for users to navigate, widening and protection of the cycle lane through Cricketfield car park. The project has been shaped by local input from the Teignbridge Cycle Forum, and also via a public consultation in summer 2020. Project delivery should be possible within the next 12 months, and we will share further details on this in due course.