New solution to cultural hub 'mess' is proposed by board
CREATING a more attractive link between Exeter's Central Library, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (Ramm) and the Phoenix, could cost about £500,000.
The three buildings are within the city's Cultural Quarter and Exeter's councillors are keen to make parts of the route between them more attractive.
The Exeter Board, a joint committee of county and city councillors, asked for possible options to be drawn up for the lower library area, although as yet there is no money in council budgets for such a scheme.
However a proposal which would see a tree-lined space created in Musgrave Row, suitable for street theatre, has been drawn-up and has won the board's approval.
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Now board chairman Councillor Andrew Leadbetter will lobby Devon's Cabinet for funding. Cllr Leadbetter, city and county councillor for St Loyes and Topsham as well as cabinet member for Exeter, said: "That road is a mess at the moment. If you have lived in Exeter for a while you don't perhaps notice it, but it is a big area of space.
"At the moment if you cut through from Musgrave Row to go to the Phoenix and the Ramm you have to go through a car park.
"But it would be lovely to see it nicely paved and used as a link into the park as well as the Phoenix and the museum and back out again.
"It is a service road but it is also used as a cut through."
Also included in this early design are plans to put pinch points in Musgrave Row and lower the pavements so that it is more pedestrian friendly. Disabled parking bays would remain.
Cllr Leadbetter added: "We can't close it completely to vehicles as it is a service road."
"All the members of the board bought into this plan and now it is a question of going away and finding the money.
"I will be taking this to my cabinet colleagues to see if we can get this added to the budget."
Rachel Sutton, the city's lead councillor for transport and sustainable development, agreed that it would be a boost for the city to get the changes made.
Cllr Sutton said: "If you don't know Exeter and looked at this street as you went past you would think it was just the service yards for the shops and High Street.
"Making it look less like a car park and traffic island will make it more encouraging for people to come around the corner.
"It is important to do this when we are regenerating the other side of the library and emphasising the links between Ramm and the Phoenix.
"We should look further at how the city council can contribute to this."