FRESH plans to regenerate Bodmin which include the pedestrianisation of the town centre and changes to the road network will be unveiled to residents in the near future.
Cornwall councillor for Bodmin East, Lance Kennedy, whose ward could see a new road constructed connecting Priory Road and St Nicholas Street and alterations to the Church Square roundabout, assured residents that full public consultations on what is proposed will be forthcoming.
Mr Kennedy said the proposals will build on the studies contained in the Bodmin masterplan, which acts as the blueprint for future regeneration over the next 20 years.
"Critical to Bodmin's growth ambition is its excellent position on the strategic transport network and links to other communities – although the local transport network will be subject to some improvements in order to support change," he said.
"This includes reducing the congestion along Dennison Road and managing the associated air quality issues in this location. Proposals to mitigate these issues will provide the opportunity for the town centre to become fully or part-pedestrianised and facilitate an improved retail experience for residents, visitors and improve the retail opportunity for traders."
Bodmin has around 14,000 residents plus some 5,500 commuters coming in and out of the town to work every day, and Mr Kennedy feels the town is ripe for further investment.
"We now have the chance to create the sort of town centre that is a pleasure to shop in during the day and a place to relax in during the evening with good entertainment and food outlets.
"The involvement of the people of Bodmin is essential before any formal plans are finalised; but it is important that we deliver a future for our town that recognises and protects its past, while seizing the chance to establish itself as an economic centre of Cornwall."
Mr Kennedy said: "The town and Cornwall councillors are working to achieve what residents have been asking for, better social amenities, a relaxed night-time economy and if possible a major high street name to generate increased footfall and trade opportunities in the town centre.
"The conceptual road network that is under discussion will help to deliver what has been asked for, but we will need local comments and ideas to make sure we have the best solution.
"We are all pleased with this opportunity to look at the town in general; given the current financial situation it is wonderful to get this chance to have the sort of town people have asked for."
Ann Kerridge, Cornwall councillor for Bodmin West, said Cornwall Council was at last beginning to realise the potential to develop Bodmin economically and was devoting serious time to working up a strategy based upon the masterplan.
"That's an opportunity that may go elsewhere if we aren't careful. There are for example some exciting ideas to maximise the potential of Bodmin's successful food industry and the chance to make Bodmin a centre for cycle tourism linking the Camel Trail, Cardinham Woods and the new attraction at Lanhydrock.
"All this will have to be supported by better infrastructure including the road network. Some of it will inevitably be controversial and that is why I see a full public consultation as the next essential step once the proposals are ready."
The public consultation dates and venues are expected to be announced in February.