Do they listen?
07:10 26 January 2013
One of the letters in last week’s Journal raised concerns about the proposed development at Plumb Park in the Maer Valley which will be accessed through Buckingham Close, changing it from a cul-de-sac to a through road.
This sole access through Buckingham Close gives rise to two major concerns, which I raised as a result of the pre-consultation exhibition.
Firstly, there is the question of whether safe and speedy access to the new proposed development by emergency vehicles can be guaranteed, given that currently a lot of cars park in Buckingham Close and also residents tend to have to back out of their drives on to the roadway.
The second question is whether there has been any modelling of the routes vehicles will take accessing and exiting the new development?
There is no regular year-round direct public transport into Littleham.
The proposed 350 dwellings will, at a minimum, generate another 350 vehicles, not counting delivery or second cars.
Buckingham Close leads to Douglas Avenue. Where will the traffic go then?
If this additional traffic comes up to Cranford Avenue and joins Littleham Road to get to Salterton Road, it will add to and extend this peak time traffic bottleneck and wipe away any limited amelioration from potential changes to the Littleham Cross junction, such as were suggested at the Plumb Park exhibition.
Coming back to Plumb Park, the obvious route from Salterton Road is down Barnfield Avenue.
However, from this direction, the junction of Barnfield Avenue, Douglas Avenue and Cranford Avenue is blind.
Vehicles and buses oncoming along Cranford Avenue cannot see or be seen by vehicles coming out of Barnfield Avenue because of the bend in the road.
I understand there have been accidents here in the past and the lightness of the traffic is the only reason this dangerous junction has not caused more problems.
In principle, most people would not argue with the need for more social housing for local people or more facilities to underpin local economic development so that Exmouth doesn’t become predominately a retirement town or commuter suburb of Exeter.
However, feedback from the process of pre-consultation for planning applications often seems to fail to elucidate from affected communities a fully comprehensive view of all the issues involved or identify their legitimate concerns about negative or unquantified consequences.
So such consultations don’t seem to lead to changes to the proposals, which would ensure that the existing community’s quality of life is maintained, let alone improve it.
It seems to me that this is often because there are no answers which are considered cost effective. With regard to the Plumb Park development for example, no one in Littleham village wants the access through the village, which is already frequently over congested by visitors to Sandy bay.
But in the residential streets of the Avenues, rat-running will test roads that were never designed for such traffic levels.
The results of pre-planning consultations therefore are that developers’ eyes tend to glaze over when confronted with problems that their development will exacerbate and the community becomes ever-more suspicious that planning proposals, rather than improving their lives, will only make them worse.