Elderly Exmouth residents ‘trapped inside’ by site traffic from Plumb Park development
PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 January 2018
“It was always known that a development on the scale of Plumb Park would exacerbate vehicle grid lock problems and pedestrian safety. They need to accept that this road is not big enough to take that volume of traffic,” said Terence Ford, the Plumb Park liaison officer for The Avenues Residents Association (TARA), in Exmouth.
Elderly Exmouth residents living on a road which provides single access to a large housing development say they are suffering because of it.
In December the Journal reported the celebration of work getting started on Clinton Devon Estates and Taylor Wimpey’s Plumb Park development, in Exmouth.
The site, near Buckingham Close, is earmarked for 350 new homes in total, with planning permission for the first 264 granted by East Devon District Council last year.
But The Avenues Residents Association (TARA), representing people in the close, says since work started their lives have been blighted by noise, mess and traffic associated with the site.
Among those affected are Iris and Olly Goss, both in their 90s, who have lived at their home in Buckingham Close for 31 years.
Their daughter Lynn Calvin said: “Both my parents use walking frames. They now can’t walk to the shops at Littleham Cross, which means they have been trapped inside.”
She said Mr and Mrs Goss used to enjoy watching the seasons change from their window, but this stopped when the field became a building site.
“We used to take them down (to the fields) for a walk. They can’t do that anymore – but now they can’t even look at it.
“Doing little things means a lot and that has been curtailed. It makes them sad,” said Ms Calvin.
TARA’s Plumb Park liaison officer, Terence Ford, said a second entrance to the work site was vital, for the safety and quality of life of residents.
He and his wife Sheila Ford have lived in their property for 18 years, but are now seriously considering selling up.
The couple, who enjoy gardening, said ‘noise, vibrations and cranes adjacent to the hedge’ were spoiling this pleasure for them.
They questioned why work was permitted to start on Plumb Park when a separate building site for 35 retirement flats already relied on the road for access.
“We now have to endure two substantial building developments, with all site lorries and machine equipment deliveries – all taking place within such a small area,” Mr Ford said.
People on the close are also concerned about a further 264 occupied households using the road for access, saying the impact of existing site traffic on residents was ‘severe and getting worse by the day’.
Mr Ford said: “They need to accept that this road is not big enough to take that volume of traffic.”
But a spokesman for East Devon District Council (EDDC) said: “We cannot prevent development commencing because other works are also taking place nearby.”
The council said measures were being taken to minimise impacts of traffic routing, pollution, and deliveries, but added there would ‘always be disruption during the construction of any development’.
“The impact on the quietness of the location is partly a temporary one, during construction, which is unfortunate but could not be avoided,” said the council’s spokesman.
The council concluded extra traffic brought by occupants of the new development was not expected to bring ‘excessive or unreasonable levels of noise and disturbance’.
Taylor Wimpey said it took residents’ concerns seriously and apologised for any inconvenience caused.
However, the developer explained access via Buckingham Close was part of planning permission granted by EDDC, and Devon County Council, as highways authority, had raised no objection.
A spokesman said: “Our operations are governed by the terms set out our in our Construction Environment Management Plan.
“East Devon District Council’s Environmental Health Officer is satisfied that these terms are being followed.
“We have been diligent in responding to enquiries from local residents and have provided an update to The Avenues Residents Association, (TARA), which will feature in their forthcoming newsletter.”
A Devon County Council spokesman said it had ‘assessed in detail’ the suitability of the access to serve the site and the development would indeed continue to only be served by one access.
The county council said it would use £78,000 of developer Section 106 contribution towards the provision of additional bus journeys along Douglas Avenue on weekdays to accommodate residents living in the development.