RADICAL plans to construct a new road to bypass the centre of Bodmin and make it a pedestrian-only zone will be unveiled to residents later this month.
The scheme put forward by Cornwall Council is being seen as a way to kick-start the regeneration of the town, with money already in place at County Hall to carry out the work required.
Under the proposals, out for public consultation:
Fore Street, Turf Street and Mount Folly will join Honey Street as traffic-free zones.
Church Square roundabout will be scrapped, and instead, traffic approaching from Priory Road will carry on to Dennison Road, with Turf Street off limits to motorists.
The one-way system in Crockwell Street will be reversed to allow access to Fore Street from Dennison Road for deliveries at restricted times.
A series of new roundabouts will be built on Priory Road, where a new primary link road will be built across the edge of Priory Park to St Nicholas Street.
To the west of the town, the "magic roundabouts" by the Clock Tower will also be scrapped, and Wadebridge-bound traffic will instead be directed via Boundary Road.
The proposals are part of Bodmin's local plan framework, which envisages the creation of 3,200 homes and 650 jobs over the next 20 years.
The public consultation will be on Saturday, March 16, at the Shire House Suite, and Bodmin's three Cornwall councillors are urging as many residents as possible to have their say on the plans.
The majority of the infrastructure changes are proposed for the Bodmin East ward of Cornwall councillor Lance Kennedy.
"Three years ago I asked senior Cornwall Council staff to draw up plans to deal with the traffic infrastructure for Bodmin should the finance become available," he said.
"I'm delighted that the finance is now available and Bodmin finally gets its turn for major development work and recognition of its future.
"The opportunity is now, but given the economic state of the nation we cannot afford to wait; we must decide on what we want or lose the chance.
"With economic growth will come what people have been asking for: more jobs, more amenities, cleaner air and a better shopping experience in the town centre.
"The routes and changes will no doubt surprise some, but we're past the stage of tinkering; we must now take the important decisions.
"This isn't chiefly about improving the traffic; it's about the economy, which will not happen without the road improvements.
"I look forward to the public expressing their views on how we improve Bodmin to sustain its position as the county town with everything people have been asking for over many years or, as in the past, watch the investment go elsewhere."
Bodmin Central councillor Pat Rogerson welcomed the public consultation, saying: "Cornwall Council has at last recognised just how much Bodmin has to offer.
"I welcome the promise of new jobs and the commitment to placing our town at the strategic heart of Cornwall.
"I look forward to hearing the response of local people. At last they get to comment."
Bodmin West councillor Ann Kerridge said: "What most people in Bodmin want is more jobs and it's finally time to decide if we want to pedestrianise Fore Street.
"Both are much more difficult to achieve if we do nothing about the air quality and traffic congestion from the Fiveways roundabout to St Petroc's Church.
"Unfortunately there is a price to pay, which is a road around the edge of Priory Park. I can't pretend this is an easy choice; I hope people study the issues and I'll support whatever consensus is reached."
For more on the local plan, see page 26.