EFFORTS are being made to make Bridport’s South Street a traffic-free haven.

The move comes after the temporary closure of the road for the mammoth gasworks project before Christmas, which left the area near Bucky Doo Square effectively pedestrianised.

Veteran town and district councillor David Tett is calling for an extensive consultation exercise to be carried out to see what people in the town want.

He said: “The recent temporary closure of South Street for the laying of a new gas main has shown beyond doubt that traffic through the town has moved more freely with less town centre congestion and hold- ups.

“The town council consulted extensively in 2000 to 2001 and had a clear mandate to trial a temporary closure of the top half of South Street to vehicles, other than delivery vehicles and emergency services.

“Two thirds of the respondents, including those living in neighbouring towns and villages who shop in Bridport, favoured and supported this move.”

He added: “By closing off this part of South Street from Folly Mill Lane and Gundry Lane to the Town Hall, greater use can be made of Bucky Doo Square, particularly on market days by stallholders and musical and other entertainment.

“This can bring yet more people, both residents, visitors and tourists into the town and thereby stimulate its economy.

“Obviously, another consultation will be needed to be carried out.

“But it need be an extensive one, and the needs and views of the public taken note of this time round.”

The Bridport Business chamber is also asking traders all across the town for their views on how closure or pedestrianisation of the area could affect their businesses.

Bridport Business secretary Karen Hussey said: “We want to know what the impact on traders could be.

“We are trying to get together as much information as possible from the businesses in town with their views on closure or pedestrianisation, via our website bridportbusiness.org.uk.”

Town clerk Bob Gillis said: “The town council has always said that it would re-visit this issue, as part of a review of the town centre traffic changes.

“A review of the changes, including options for South Street, are listed as one the projects in the current Town Plan.

“It is likely that a report to start the review process will be taken to the town council early this year and, as part of the review, there will be wide public consultation including with the chamber of trade and commerce.

“There will be a lot more information issued and an opportunity for everyone to comment when the review gets underway.”

The third phase of the gasworks is due to begin this month, January, when the main will be replaced in East Street, from the Town Hall to the Barrack Street junction.