Bid to bring in coachloads of tourist parties to Devizes

This Is Wiltshire: David Dawson, director of Wiltshire Museum in Long Street, Devizes David Dawson, director of Wiltshire Museum in Long Street, Devizes

Assessors were shown the sights of Devizes in a bid for the town to gain coach-friendly status.

Devizes Area Tourism Partnership (DATP) believes the status would lead to more tour company visits, boosting the economy.

Councillors have said some do not come because car parks with coach spaces – The Wharf and Station Road – no longer have toilets.

Devizes Area Board agreed to change the designation of some on-street car parking spaces in New Park Street for coaches.

They will have 20 minutes to set down passengers, then move to a long stay car park. Spaces in New Park Street have been chosen for their close proximity to the public toilets in West Central Car Park.

Tony Aldridge, the owner of Rosemundy Cottage Bed and Breakfast in London Road and a member of DATP, said: “I have counted the number of empty spaces in New Park Street. Even at peak times, there is not less than seven empty spaces.”

DATP showed Cathy Summers and John Burch, assessors from the Confederation of Passenger Transport, the shopping area, parking facilities, the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust Museum, Wadworth Brewery Visitor Centre and Wiltshire Museum.

Mr Aldridge said: “The assessors were very impressed with the wide range of things to do and thought it was a great place for coaches to be visiting.”

Wiltshire Museum director David Dawson said: “Coach-friendly status is hard to get. It’s a real plus for tour operators and coach companies to encourage more people to the town.

“Not many towns have coach friendly status. It says it is a great place to come and drivers will be happy to come here.”

He said five or six coaches a week visit Devizes. A decision on the status is due in the next week.

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