TALKS are underway to assess the viability of a scheme which, if it goes ahead, would see the pedestrianisation of a section of a town centre street - but it remains to be seen who will fund the next stage of the process.

Traders based along Barrack Street, Bridport, say they would like to create a ‘breathing space’ in the town centre by making the area between East Street and The Kitchen Shop a pedestrian zone. They claim the road is currently 'useless' and that they see 'dangerous manoeuvres every hour.'

Proposals to ‘improve safety and enhance’ along the street were met with support at a meeting of Bridport Town Council’s planning committee last month, when the committee had given its support to the plans in principle - though it was stressed more research was needed.

The committee met again on Monday, when an an update was given on the scheme's progress.

Councillors heard that the plans have since been raised with Dorset County Council's (DCC) highways team, which has said that while proposals are interesting, they require further investigation.

The county council has suggested that a feasibility study could be carried out to examine the impact of the proposals, get an idea of how much it will cost to implement them and investigate whether there are other options for achieving the objectives of the scheme for comparison.

Town councillors will now discuss the costs of the feasibility study, said to be about £2,000, with the traders who are promoting the scheme before getting back to DCC.

But, speaking after the meeting, one trader said that they would not be prepared to meet the cost.

The trader, who did not want to be named, said: "Something has got to be done. There's not a chance we're doing nothing - the road needs changing as it's not good enough. The one-way system is ignored and the road is widely abused. It's dangerous.

"They could just move the signage further up, but why not go the whole hog and make this the future? Let's get people walking around and make this a safe space. The traders can't pay for this but something needs to be done. Why not invest in Bridport and local businesses?"

Asked about whether the scheme draws similarities to plans to pedestrianise South Street, which were refused following a public consultation, the trader added: "This is completely different. South Street is its own unique thing. This is a useless road at the moment but it could be a great addition to Bridport."