Cycle route approved despite residents' fears

PUBLISHED: 01:01 07 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:52 10 June 2010

CAMPAIGNERS concerned about the noise and safety of the new Exmouth cycle route have lost their bid to divert the track away from residences. Local residents have spent the past two years protesting the construction of the route running through the narrow

CAMPAIGNERS concerned about the noise and safety of the new Exmouth cycle route have lost their bid to divert the track away from residences.Local residents have spent the past two years protesting the construction of the route running through the narrow lanes of Topsham.The Exe Estuary Cycle Way was approved as a temporary measure at the Devon County Council meeting last week, accepting the route through Bowling Green Road and Monmouth Street. The council was accused of not thoroughly assessing the impact on residents and ignoring their fears over children's safety.Lyn Trout, a resident who spoke at the meeting, said: "To minimise the dangers to all users and to give a feeling of security, the routes should be capable of segregating cyclists, pedestrians, and motor vehicles. These narrow streets are not capable of being segregated."An assessment by Parsons Brinckerhoff, a planning consultation organisation, calculated that over a 12 hour period 120 cars travelled on Bowling Green Road - that is 15 cars per hour.Councillor Mary Evans pointed out at the meeting that there had been little consultation with local residents over these plans and that, for a small town, safety was paramount. Michael Dart, co-owner of Darts Farm, who also spoke at the meeting, said; "Their mind was made up before I spoke, it was just to rubber stamp the process. "I feel even more depressed about democracy. It is a sham. "It will take an accident before council members realise what's obvious to residents. It just seems bizarre that Devon County Council are judge and jury, applicant and planning authority."The Exe Estuary route is part of the National Cycle Network a £7 million picturesque route linking Topsham to Exmouth, Exeter and Dawlish via Powderham Castle.It has the potential to be one of the most popular leisure cycling and walking routes in the country, attracting 400,000 visitors every year.

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