WORK is due to start on the first phase of the highly controversial ‘enhancement’ scheme in Queen Street, Newton Abbot on Tuesday. 

The £1.3million scheme has been mired in complaints since it was first put forward with traders angry their businesses will be affected. 

The scheme is designed to improve the street and make it safer for pedestrians. 

But the measures, which include limiting access to the section of Queen Street beyond Albany Street to buses, pedestrians, cycles and loading have infuriated local businesses.

Newton Abbot Town Council has called for the scheme to be abandoned. 

A legal challenge is being considered against the scheme by Queen Street traders. 

And Cllr Richard Daws, from South Devon Alliance, has publicly requested the project be ‘paused’.

He said: ‘We are requesting the Queen Street project be paused based on the very real potential of a legal challenge brought by Queen Street traders and residents of Newton Abbot. 

‘We are hoping Teignbridge Council and Devon County Council will see sense and take steps to avoid this escalating to the courts, as Totnes High Street did, and revisit the project to create a scheme that carries the broad support of the town.’

It is being funded through the Government’s Future High Street Fund and Active Travel.

Tuesday will see the start of project which both Teignbridge Council and Devon County Council insist will make Queen Street a ‘more attractive, safe and healthy place for visitors and businesses’.

Works will progress in seven phases and the aim is to finish by the end of November.

Teignbridge Council stresses all businesses on will stay open during the work and visitors will be able to walk along it as usual. 

The project includes widening footways and improving pedestrian crossings, lowering the speed limit, upgraded bus stop, planting trees and installing seats.    

Contractors are due to work from 8am to 5pm,  Monday to Friday.

Teignbridge Council says: ‘While the work is ongoing the current level of parking availability will be maintained as far as possible, although some parking bays might be occupied for construction and safety reasons.’

Blue badge holders can still park on Queen Street and use the disabled bays on Victoria Place and nearby car parks – Cricketfield Road, Halcyon Road, and Sherborne Road Multi-Story – will remain open as usual.  

While the works are underway, the council is offering discounted parking at £1 to park for two hours on the top two levels of the multi-story car park. 

Phase 1 starts at The Avenue from Tuesday. 

Phase 2, from May to July, is between Courtenay Street and Albany Street south side.

Phase three in August and September is between Courtenay Street and Albany Street north side.

Phase 4 in September and October will be between Albany Street and Devon Square with Phase 5 at the junction with Devon Square.

Phase 6 in November, work will be at the Queen Street junction with the Avenue and St Paul’s Road.

Phase 7, the final phase, in November will see the installation of signage, street furniture and road markings.