'Are they putting in a playground?' Paignton residents left confused by new colourful road scheme

Residents have had their say on the changes. Credit: BPM Media

New multi-coloured road surfacing that has appeared this week along Paignton’s ‘Golden Mile’ has received a backlash from local residents.

Bright red and blue paint at a busy junction along Torbay Road has been compared to that you would find at a swimming pool, water fountain, play park or fighting ring by some residents.Torbay Council says the colour scheme has been implemented by Garfield Road and Queens Road to make the area safer for motorists as well as pedestrians.

The road has already been the subject of controversy following a pedestrianisation trial which began last September.

The car ban ended earlier this month with the road opened up to traffic from Station Square down to Queens Road, with wider pedestrian areas on the ‘sunny’ south-facing side of the street.

The road has had its fair share of controversy. Credit: BPM Media

A spokesperson for Torbay Council said: “With increased traffic at this junction, the surface contrast provides greater clarity for road users and pedestrians, ensuring all road users can use the space safely."The red is to remind motorists as they approach the junction to slow down and think ‘should I be driving through here’ before proceeding to turn slowly at the junction."The blue is to better define the carriage for pedestrians and to reflect some of the placemaking ambitions for a permanent scheme.”

However, it appears to have caused confusion among local residents. On community Facebook page Spotted Paignton residents have given their views with some branding it a "waste of money" whereas others are calling for the road to be put back to how it once was before the trial began.

The council says the scheme is putting safety first. Credit: BPM Media

The comments on Facebook include: "How lovely, can't wait to get the chalk out and do some hopscotch."Another said: "Are they turning it into a water feature? Fountain in the middle?"One person described it as a "big swimming pool" while another said it was like they'd rented out a "helipad".Another said: "Me and my daughter looked at this afternoon she said, 'are they putting in a playground mum?' I was puzzled."While one person commented: "Maybe the council and highways should spend the money on repairing the pothole ridden and dangerous roads of Torbay instead of this stupidity. They are the worst roads in the country."

Torbay Council – then led by a Liberal Democrat/Independent coalition – consulted the public early in 2022 and found a majority who responded wanted traffic banned from the busy road which links the town centre to the seafront.

When the ban was brought in for its first trial, business owners said it was ruining trade. Dozens of them marched in the street with placards.The second phase of the trial then allowed traffic in at the seafront end of the road but kept the top section car-free.

Traders continued to protest, and in the run-up to the local elections in May the Conservatives promised in their manifesto to be the party that let cars back in.