It's been confirmed that Exmouth's Gateway scheme is to be scrapped.

As reported in the Journal last week, Devon County Council’s Cabinet was being recommended at today's meeting (Wednesday, May 8) not to continue with the plans - and they agreed to remove the Gateway proposals for the area near the railway station from the wider Destination Exmouth scheme.

During two public consultations on the proposals, the majority of people who responded opposed the closure of the subway.

Scheme designers had investigated options of keeping the subway open while delivering some elements of the Exmouth Gateway, but they were not considered feasible as without the space unlocked by closing the subway they would not deliver the active travel benefits to meet the Levelling Up Funding requirements.

Councillor Andrea Davis, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport, said: “We've listened to the feedback from the consultation which made it clear that the majority of those who responded opposed the closure of the subway. A significant amount of work has gone into the proposals, but we can't proceed without the support of the local community.

“Our officers have explored delivering elements of the Exmouth Gateway scheme while keeping the subway open but unfortunately the lack of space makes it impossible to address a number of issues, such as the pinchpoint where the subway pumping equipment is housed. The scheme then wouldn't deliver the active travel benefits needed to satisfy the Levelling Up Fund requirements.

“There may be potential to revisit some of the proposals in future, but as with everything, it comes down to the availability of funding.”

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “Since successfully securing over £15m Levelling Up Funding for the Destination Exmouth submission to Government, the County Council has been engaging with Exmouth residents and stakeholders to shape the Exmouth Gateway proposals. This project aims to complement the Dinan Way scheme and create an improved environment for people arriving by train or from the Exe Estuary and with a clearer route towards the town centre.

“Extensive engagement with Exmouth residents and stakeholders over the summer last year helped develop a revised scheme. This included a Toucan crossing replacing the existing zebra crossing, retention of some planting and favouring a shared use rather than segregated path. Consultation over the winter fed back strong opposition to closing the subway, which is fundamental to the active travel improvements.

“As it is not possible to meet the highway design standards for the Toucan crossing without closure of the subway, I support the report recommendations to remove the Exmouth Gateway proposals from the Levelling Up Fund package. The Council remains committed to delivering the Dinan Way scheme and continues to engage with Government officials to support progress with the project.”

Councillor Richard Scott, County Councillor for Exmouth, said: “It's unfortunate that the delivery of the Gateway will not take place, however, it’s important to recognise that we have listened to residents and we can’t support implementing a scheme contrary to local support. Jeff and I would like to thank all residents for their participation in the consultations, the hard work of all involved in the bid process and continue to work with partners to bring more investment into the Exmouth division.

“We look forward to delivering the main element of LUF through the Dinan Way link which has always been the priority. That link road is extremely important to Exmouth and would allow us to bring cycling, walking and bus service improvements into the north of the town.”

Councillor Jeffrey Trail BEM, County Councillor for Exmouth, said: “Richard and I have listened to all groups. We have fully engaged with residents, officers and Councils to ensure that we deliver the best for the residents and visitors to Exmouth. As stated at the Cabinet meeting, we will now work to address transport issues upon the existing Dinan Way."

The Dinan Way Extension, which proposes to provide a link to the A376 and move traffic away from residential roads in the area, is not expected to be impacted if the Exmouth Gateway scheme is not progressed, although it is still to be confirmed with the DfT.