THE ban on vehicles in Taunton's East Street is to be eased for drivers with a disability during December.

Blue Badge holders will be able to access the prime shopping street in their cars between 8am and 10am daily throughout the month.

Somerset West and Taunton Council is proposing new measures on East Street in the longer term to improve traffic flow around the town centre and to provide more parking for Blue Badge holders.

If approved, the scheme would see an automated barrier that would allow access to all traffic in a one-way direction during peak hours, seven days a week.

At all other times the barrier would remain down.

Additional consultation is taking place this month while the longer term scheme undergoes detailed design to ensure all users' needs are met as closely as possible while ensuring public safety.

Cllr Mike Rigby, SWT executive member for planning and transport, said: "I’m pleased that we have been able to provide a short term option for Blue Badge holders to access the shops and business on East Street during the festive season.

"We are anticipating an increase in shoppers following the reopening of non-essential retail and want to ensure we make our town centre shops and services accessible to all while prioritising public safety.

"I’m confident that we will be able to introduce the longer term measures early in the New Year to improve our town centre shopping experience and the flow of traffic for everyone."

To ask questions or provide feedback or comments on the scheme, e-mail East Street has been closed to all traffic except emergency vehicles and retail deliveries since non-essential shops reopened in July following the first national lockdown.

The temporary closure was initiated as a joint response from SWT and Somerset County Council working with the police and other partners to enable social distancing and encourage walking and cycling in line with the Government’s Active Travel initiative.