Boscawen Street-neither busy nor beautiful now

The time has come – if it has not long passed – when someone must clearly say ‘Enough is enough!’ It is time to remove all this paraphernalia from Boscawen Street, and to remove the artificial oxbow, the winding cart-track, the Wilko pinch-point, the single-lane passageway for two-way traffic, marked out by very smart but wholly inappropriate flower tubs. If it is an ‘experiment’, then it has failed.

It is dubbed an ‘experiment’ but it does not appear to have any method, let alone a problem to solve. Indeed, the whole thing is born of the desire to be seen to be doing something; saving face! Full pedestrianisation was not feasible because, as a retailing and service delivery town, Truro needs customers, clients, workers and visitors, and in these climate-conscious carbon-zero times the bus is essential to our trading survival.

Boscawen Street is one of the eminent jewels of Cornwall’s heritage crown – at least it was until all this started. Now, it is anxious, risky, distorted by winding traffic with buses staring each other down amid constant snarls. It’s like a shambolic jousting field! There is no reliable evidence (only conflicting anecdotes) about the impact on trade. One thing that cannot be counted but is evident from comment and eavesdropping is that there are many people who are so saddened by the loss of elegance, the clutter and disruption, that they simply don’t come to Truro any more. This may be an effect complicated by Covid, but the sheer ugliness and confusion of it all is an often-cited reason.

Many ask: ‘What was the problem in the first place?’

The bulk of traffic was removed from Boscawen Street in the 1960s when the by-pass diverted the A39 and A390 to what we grandly call Morlaix Avernue (which is a by-pass, not an avenue, and doesn’t go to Morlaix!). Boscawen Street was, until all this got imposed without consultation, a busy commercial street, elegantly spacious, that was easy to read, easy to cross and to be safe in – hence the miniscule accident record.

Truro’s post-war commercial prowess arose from the great investment in infrastructure made during the 1960s which de-trafficked the town centre (but didn’t stop it being accessible), built car parks on strategic approach routes, provided rear servicing to the primary retail area, and bravely demolished the Trevail Post Office, the C19th Boscawen Bridge and the former Fighting Cocks Inn, to enable the successful rising of the Trurra Phoenix.  

One other relocation – that of the Livestock Market from Castle Hill to Newquay Road – has perhaps removed ‘out of sight, out of mind’ the economic facility which embodies the vital relationship between our market town and the rural land-based industries which surround it. This linkage is as strong today as ever, and, with climate change, is likely to become even stronger. If Truro is an economic engine, it is fuelled by rural life and business.

Truro relies upon the comings and goings of buses. With rates, rents and overheads so high (and with inflation, climbing!) we need to enable the best possible conditions for strong trade – otherwise, we will not see investment. Instead, we will see a decline in the amount of, and quality of, employment, the range of businesses, the quality of services, and the conservation of our heritage.

The current cluttering of Boscawen Street is producing no benefits. 

The so-called experiment is a flawed exercise. It is going on too long. It has already easily proved that it is of no use or value. Let it be gone – we have business to be getting on with, office workers we need to encourage to return, premises to re-let, visitors to delight – we need vibrancy, quality and confidence – not rancour, risk and recriminations.

Give us back our Front Street; restore it to its beautifully open, relaxed, safe and lively accessibility, and focus on filling up the offices so that the 12-2 weekday trade can make its vital contribution to paying the rents, rates and wages! Render unto Trurra her Front Street in one piece, and do it NOW, please!

Bert Biscoe

February 2022

You may also like...

13 Responses

  1. Anne East née Symons says:

    Hear hear! This is horrible. A monstrosity perpetrated by a strong minded and vociferous minority. A campaign on social media.

  2. Mike Knuckey says:

    Absolutely agree it’s a complete mess now, it needs to gone and restored to the way it was and has always been

  3. Mike Knuckey says:

    Quite this all mostly fuelled by one man’s thoughts, and it seems his thoughts seem to be the only ones that count, remove all this rubbish and return the street to its former glory

  4. Lucy Ball says:

    I couldn’t agree more! There was nothing wrong with it in the first place. We need it restored to how it was asap and to have our lovely city brought back to life again as it is seriously dying a death.

  5. Ros Harding says:

    We do not need 400+ buses a day going through Boscawen Street. Many town centres thrive with full pedestrianisation so why not Truro?

  6. John Grimwood says:

    So glad I’m not alone , our views are very similar. The old saying is if it’s not broke don’t fix it ! Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. ! Let’s try to get the local people back using the city ! Also town centre parking is needed, the ability to nip in town and pick something up! Just over an hour should do it . How about free parking in the evening ? Time to take pride again in the city we live and love . Local community first tourism secondary . Plan a yearly calendar of events and publish it 6 months in advance. Thankyou Burt for your efforts ! Let common sense prevail !

  7. Kevin Hunt says:

    If only those who were allowed
    to access Boscawen Street it
    would never of been a problem
    but unfortunately the no entry
    signs are constantly ignored,
    it has never been policed
    so no one cares, ignoring
    signs amd parking illegally
    are rife in Truro, but again,
    no one cares,police it properly
    and stop all the vehicles going
    through illegally and there won’t
    ne a need for planters.

  8. Mike Knuckey says:

    Spot on that street has been a lovely lively area for dozens and dozens of years, no fatal injuries from passing vehicles , now it’s just an ugly disjointed street, a lot of championed by one person only try to force his ideas on how Truro should look, and saying it as if he was speaking for everyone in Truro and even Cornwall

  9. Linda Johns says:

    Well said.
    A supposedly ‘Healthy Streets Initiative’. Which has resulted in the most unhealthiest.
    Busses churning out their fumes over folk sat outside of Wilco whilst trying to transverse the ‘coffins’ or, jammed together waiting to take their turn whilst busses from the other direction come through!
    We never had any of this rigmarole before, utterly ridiculous!
    And the unsightlyness is abhorrent in our beautiful Boscawen Street.
    Time to begone!

  10. Fiona Fleming says:

    I agree with this – why not restore Boscawen Street to a lively thriving commercial centre and create a more relaxed, open street vibe with lovely planters, cafe seating – and trees! Restoring the river and quayside feel of Lemon Quay (problematic I realise) another thought. It would still be possible to keep some street space on Boscawen Street for seating/cafe space – as at Uneeka, but reduce the clumsy traffic and pedestrian flow. Wholeheartedly support kinder business rates, small business incentives and some office/residential use of upper stories along Boscawen Street. Truro is a beautiful friendly and historic Cornish town and it’s character is precious.

  11. Jonathan Bell says:

    I don’t agree. I think it looks nice, adds a casual and enjoyable freedom for pedestrians with more space for street coffee tables and seats etc..and I don’t think it has negatively effected trade.

  12. Pam Mcowen says:

    Absolutely agree

  13. Beth says:

    Make it how it was move those flower boxes and they getnabused anyway I’ve seen several council workers clean the pavement and chuck their own rubbish in there the people that do their daily drinking pour alcohol in there people that sit there are just inhaling fumes use your funding on the museum that’s what needs to stay that’s what we want to stay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *