A dream of the large open space behind the Jolly Farmer pub in Newton Abbot becoming a coach yard has become a reality.
Town centre manager Sally Henley said that over the last few years she has often looked at the large space in Market Walk’s Western Service Yard and dreamed of it becoming a space for the coaches, which bring visitors into Newton Abbot several times a week.
Now, following a survey has found that an overwhelming 99 per cent of coach visitors would recommend to friends Newton Abbot as a place to visit, Teignbridge Council are now trialling three coach parking spaces in the town’s Western Service Yard to offer more designated parking spaces close to the town centre.
Newton Abbot News
Sally Henley said: “Newton Abbot is increasingly attracting more visitors from further afield and it’s been a source of frustration that we have not been able to offer coach drivers the convenience of centrally located parking. Coach drivers are over the moon with the new provision and have said that they would now like to offer their passengers a longer stay in the town, in the knowledge that they too do not have to worry about access and parking arrangement.
“I am grateful to Councillor Mike Joyce for his support with this project and to Teignbridge District Council for having the vision and the can-do attitude to finally make this happen.”
Sally Henley Newton Abbot Town Development Manager and Henry Cole Honorary Freeman of Newton Abbot
Cllr Joyce said: “Drivers now have somewhere safe to off load and pick up their customers, without the need to search the outskirts of Newton Abbot for a parking space. Shops and market stall traders should also benefit by increased footfall and a longer dwell time, so this is a a win-win situation for the town as a whole.”
The survey by Teignbridge District Council looked at understanding of the positive economic impact coach tour visitors make to the town as well as their opinions on the town in general. Visitors from across the UK were surveyed, with most arriving from neighbouring Torbay on day trips to visit the popular market day on Wednesday each week.
The survey revealed:
• coach tour visitors spent over £75,000 in 2016, marking a significant financial contribution the chartered coach industry brings to the town.
• individuals and couples spent approximately 2 hours in the town
• during this time the average spend was £23.68 per person / couple
• 80% and 81% visited the indoor and outdoor markets
• 57% were first time visitors to the town
The land behind the Jolly Farmer as it is now
Following the outcome of the survey, Cllr Doug Hellier Laing, Teignbridge District Council’s executive for economy, skills and tourism, said: “In a time when Teignbridge is proposing to heavily invest in the retail centre at the heart of Newton Abbot, it is fantastic news to hear that the town comes so highly recommended by our visitors. We extend a warm welcome to all visitors, whether on holiday or local, a regular or visiting for the first time.
“We’re always keen to find out more about our visitors and their experiences of the town. It’s fantastic news to hear that so many people would recommend visiting Newton Abbot and with future investment we look forward to welcoming even more visitors.
“There’s so much to see and do here, from shopping and eating out to events and award winning parks, and we encourage everyone to see for themselves why Newton Abbot is such a popular town that has so much to offer.”
The survey findings follow news that Full Council unanimously approved to support a major investment package for Market Walk Shopping Centre. The £2 million upgrade scheme will modernise the centre and create an open airy and spacious place to visit and shop at the heart of Newton Abbot.
LHC Urban Design Ltd’s pictures of the proposed redevelopment of Market Walk in Newton Abbot
Alan Payling, who organises the coach drivers information packs, said: “The results of the coach passenger survey confirmed what many in the coach trade know about the impact that their coach parties can have on places like Newton Abbot: that they are very good for year round business.
“I was impressed by the immediate response to the survey by Teignbridge in providing additional coach parking bays close to the market and the town centre. These facilities will make life so much easier for the drivers and their passengers, many of whom have limited mobility. Ease of access for coaches is absolutely crucial.”
Artist impression of the Market Walk revamp
Coach driver Steven Cattanach of Simpsons Coaches of Aberdeen added: “I know that I’m not the only coach driver who is pleased that the council have made these spaces available. I didn’t enjoy having to search for a space to stop over in the surrounding trading estates and now that we know that there is this central facility, it really does make visiting Newton Abbot much more appealing.
“I know that there is a great deal to see and do in Newton Abbot and my passengers would love to stay longer.”
Source: Devon live