St Ives Town Deal board members have supported a recommendation from the Highways Authority to remove the use of automatic bollards from plans to create a low-traffic environment (LTE) in town.

St Ives rooftops

The LTE is one of several projects in the Low Carbon Transport Strategy aimed at improving air quality and health outcomes for residents and visitors, as well as supporting local businesses by creating a more attractive and vibrant environment.

It includes proposals to reduce traffic congestion and parking demand in the town centre, encourage walking and cycling, and enhance public transport options and accessibility.

The strategy, which has been allocated £5.5 million of funding from St Ives Town Deal and Cornwall Council, is being developed by the Town Deal board in partnership with Cornwall Council’s Highways Authority, which is responsible for ensuring that any changes to the local road network are safe for all users, and do not create additional traffic problems within the town centre.

The Town Deal funding has to be spent by March 2026, with the projects due to be delivered in phases over this period. Any longer-term measures will need to be funded from other sources.

The highway authority’s recommendation not to use physical measures such as rising bollards and barriers to restrict access to the town centre in peak seasonal periods followed an assessment of the complex technical challenges and management arrangements of installing and operating such a system in St Ives. There were also concerns from some local residents over the potential impact of the proposal. This recommendation was previously supported by the transport working group and St Ives Town Council.

Work on implementing the low-traffic environment is due to take place next year. Regulations restricting access for people without legitimate reasons from driving into the town centre during peak periods in the summer remain a key element of the scheme. However, the decision by the Town Deal board to remove the use of physical restrictions means that the project team will work even more closely with local residents and businesses over the next few months to identify alternative methods of achieving the desired outcome. 

As well as the use of clear and visible signage at key points, additional measures, including widening footways, enhancing crossing points, providing additional seating, and managing obstructive parking, will be used to make the town centre safer and more attractive for pedestrians and cyclists. There will also be improvements to public transport and other traffic management changes around the town. Access for those who need to enter will be maintained throughout.

Permanent traffic cameras are being installed throughout the town to provide information and live data on the levels and types of vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists entering the town centre. This information will be used to help the project team monitor the effectiveness and benefits of all the changes resulting from the implementation of the strategy. The data will also be used to identify where additional measures might be required in the future to help support or improve the LTE and wider traffic management.

Members of the Town Deal board also agreed to allocate funding to support the installation of a new variable messaging sign on the A30. The sign, which will be sited in advance of the St Erth roundabout, will provide up-to-date information on parking availability within the town and help to raise public awareness of the park and ride facility. This will have the aim of reducing the number of visitors entering the town centre in search of parking when none is available.

A recommendation from the highways authority to postpone implementing changes at Library Corner and Tregenna Hill — originally scheduled to take place in October 2025 — until after all the other measures set out in the strategy have been introduced and the impact of these changes assessed, was also supported by the board. 

One of the key areas of congestion in St Ives, with the current two-way traffic system on Tregenna Hill leading to regular conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians, all partners agree that resolving this highly complex situation will play a major role in improving traffic flow within the town.

The proposal currently being developed includes the introduction of a one-way system, with general traffic only permitted to drive up Tregenna Hill.  A ‘bus only system’, with a set of traffic lights at the top and the bottom of the hill, would be introduced to enable buses and emergency vehicles to travel against the one-way system, down the hill as required.

One-way street: the strategy aims to restrict the number of vehicles coming into town

The highways authority and the project team remain committed to carrying out improvements at Library Corner. However, members of the board were told that for the proposed scheme to be both effective and safe, and prevent additional problems being created elsewhere on the local road network, they needed to ensure that all the other measures were working as expected to reduce the amount of traffic entering the area before the changes were implemented.

As it is likely this assessment can only be made once the other measures are in place, the board agreed to defer the introduction of the Library Corner / Tregenna Hill element until January 2027, with Cornwall Council ringfencing match funding of £500,000 allocated to deliver the scheme so it can be used at this time.

In the meantime, work will continue to develop the technical design of the one-way system so it is ready for construction once the performance of the other measures has been reviewed and the proposed scheme has been assessed as safe and effective.

The remaining projects in the strategy were supported by members of the St Ives Town Deal board in February, with work on projects in the first phase due to begin this autumn.

Measures being implemented in this first phase are likely to include improvements to the junctions at Malakoff, Zennor, Halsetown, and the station car park. These focus on enhancing bus and train user experience, improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists, and achieving greater speed compliance.

Following concerns about the re-direction of more holiday and day visitor traffic into St Ives along the Old Coach Road as a result of the wider signage being implemented, further work will be carried out to assess what measures can be introduced to mitigate the effect. These are likely to include speed reduction signs and other measures to improve overall safety, and aim to compliment Cornwall Council’s ‘20’s plenty’ roll-out.

Changes to the Terrace and Stennack junctions and adaptions to car parks in the town are due to begin in February 2025. Prior to any changes to key car parks, such as Barnoon and The Island, discussions will be held with existing permit users and the wider local community.

The remaining schemes include improvements to the junction at Higher Stennack (also due to take place in autumn 2025) and changes to the Tempest roundabout and Park Avenue and Albert Road, due to be carried out in early 2026.

Discussions will be held with the local community in all these areas to provide information about the proposals and supporting mitigation measures, develop any additional measures required, and to address any remaining concerns before work starts on implementing the schemes.

One of the key findings from the public consultation was the need for improvements to public transport, with calls for more reliable and frequent bus services, particularly at evening and weekends, improved signage at the bus and train stations, better and safer waiting areas at bus stops, and improved information through the use of digital information boards.

The project team are working with bus and rail operators to identify improvements to public transport which can be delivered as part of the Town Deal project. 

Stay up to date

Updates on the progress being made in developing and implementing the Low Carbon Transport Strategy will continue to be published on the Let’s Talk Cornwall site and the St Ives Town Deal site. Information will also be on social media channels, and shared with the local media. Members of the public can also sign up to the St Ives Town Deal newsletter via the Town Deal website.

Plans are being made to hold a public exhibition at St Ives Library during the summer to provide the latest details about all the projects and the timetable for delivering the different elements.

Discussions will also continue with stakeholders, community groups, and individuals to provide information and to discuss concerns as required.