WORK will start in the New Year on phase one of a scheme to regenerate the Fleet Street shopping area of Torquay.
The Torbay Council scheme, which will involve temporary road closures and alterations to bus services, is being carried out following consultation held in May when proposals were welcomed by local businesses and residents.
The 140-metre section of Fleet Street that will be improved is between The Strand and KFC.
Block paving that was originally laid in 1989 will be removed and will be replaced with granite paving similar to the paving already used in Union Street.
A two tone colour surface with tactile paving to assist people with visual impairments will be laid.
This will create a clear division between the road surface used by buses and delivery vehicles and the area for pedestrians.
Other enhancement work will be carried out to provide more space for pedestrians and to improve facilities for people waiting to catch buses.
Contractors will start work on site in the third week of January, and the scheme is scheduled for completion by the middle of June.
From January 14 to February 19, Fleet Street will be closed to buses to enable critical works to be completed. It will have to be closed again for a further week towards the end of the contract for carriageway surfacing works.
Temporary closures will also be needed in The Terrace and part of Cary Parade.
The New Year scheme forms the first of a proposed three-phase £2.5-million Fleet Street revamp, with the next two phases being subject to funding being allocated in future budgets.
Cllr Robert Excell said: "Fleet Street is a very prominent area of Torquay and we are keen to improve it.
"We have been working closely with the Torquay Town Centres BID team to make sure we came up with the most appropriate scheme for this busy street.
"We received very positive feedback in May when we put the scheme out for public consultation, and I am pleased that work will get underway in the New Year.
"One of the benefits of the scheme's design is that the kerbs at the edge of the carriageway will reduce the risk of flooding to properties, which has been a real problem in the past.
"We recognise that the scheme will cause some inconvenience, in particular for bus users, but everyone will be able to enjoy the benefits once works have been completed."
Streetscene Service Manager Patrick Carney said: "The road was constructed over 20 years ago. It is starting to look its age and is becoming a maintenance liability.
"The safety record for the road is actually very good, but we have over the years received reports that people do not always feel safe.
"The new layout has been designed in accordance with the latest government guidance and will address many of these concerns."