The paving in Dunster’s West Street looks set to be replaced following the results of a public consultation.
Hundreds of residents, businesses, property owners and visitors gave their views on the Somerset Blue Lias pavement which was laid to improve the safety of pedestrians.
More than 700 people took part in the consultation, with the responses as follows:
Option 1. Keep the existing footway as it is – 326 responses
Option 2. Stress the existing footway to darken it – 17 responses
Option 3. Replace the footway with reclaimed Pennant paving stone – 29 responses
Option 4. Replace the footway with Brecon Grey paving stone – 337 responses
Cllr David Fothergill, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, shared these results with community representatives last week and has taken the decision to make £45,000 available to Exmoor National Park Authority for a sensitive remodelling of the paving.
Cllr Fothergill said: “I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation. The results showed there is a range of opinions in Dunster and this has led to a very difficult decision.
“However, following discussions with local community representatives, I believe it is right to go with the majority and remodel the paving while also retaining the improved safety features which have been so welcomed, particularly by accessibility groups.
“I’d like to thank the Exmoor National Park Authority who have offered to take this forward and who, in consultation with Dunster Parish Council, will be leading on the replacement scheme.
“What I hope now is that everyone can get behind this decision.”
Nigel Stone, Chief Executive of Exmoor National Park Authority, said: “I very much welcome this offer from Somerset County Council.
“Dunster is one of the best preserved medieval villages in England and we have shared the wish of the Parish Council, and the majority of local residents to see practical improvement to paved areas that is in keeping with the settlement’s historic character.
“This very positive decision from the Council will mean that this aim can be achieved and provide a long-term solution fit for the foreseeable future.”
Whilst the original paving scheme was acknowledged as being successful in meeting its aim of improving accessibility and pedestrian safety, there was some negative reaction to the design and colour of the new paving. Therefore, Somerset County Council carried out a public consultation to help decide the way forward.
Exmoor National Park Authority will now draw up detailed plans alongside partners, including Somerset County Council.
Full results of the consultation can be seen below: