Petition calls for new Estuary Trail route through village
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Lympstone residents have handed a petition to county bosses calling for them to change the cycle route through their village, which they say is dangerous.
For most of its length, the Exe Estuary Trail follows a dedicated path which runs alongside the Exmouth to Exeter railway line.
However, at Lympstone, this path is interrupted, and cyclists are forced to ride along the narrow roads through the village itself.
Villagers have long been dissatisfied with this, and a petition of 265 signatures asking for a change has now been presented to Devon County Council (DCC).
Along with the petition, campaigners also included testimony from villagers of dozens of accidents, near-misses and altercations with cyclists.
Villagers say that, rather than sending cyclists along the road, the council should provide a new section of path running alongside the railway line through the village.
Chairman of the Trail Action Group in Lympstone Judith Carter told the council’s cabinet: “We believe according to the Road Traffic Act 1984 DCC failed in its duty of care in selecting an on-road route through Lympstone without carrying out a detailed risk assessment or safety audit, and despite safety concerns being raised at the planning stage.
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“We believe that DCC risks being responsible for entrapment of road users into danger.
“When DCC eventually did carry out a safety audit at Lympstone’s request in 2011, their very own audit states that they considered it inappropriate for families with young children to use the on-road sections of the trail.
“This section in Lympstone is very dangerous and we are looking for your support please to re-route this off-road.”
Speaking after the meeting, Mrs Carter added that residents were supportive of the trail as a whole, just not with its present route.
County councillor for Halsdon and Woodbury, including Lympstone, Bernard Hughes said he welcomed calls for the council to look again at the route, but thought there may be issues securing the land by the railway line, which may be needed by Network Rail if more regular trains to Exmouth are introduced.
Cllr Hughes also added that the trail had been good for businesses in Lympstone, but said concerns from villagers there and in Exton should be addressed.
He said: “What I am saying to the county council is they really seriously need to have a look at the whole of the trail and try to iron out some of the difficulties.
“It is a wonderful amenity, but it’s having an effect on the everyday lives of people who live along that route, and it shouldn’t be so intrusive as to destroy their enjoyment of their homes and villages.
“I do support whole-heartedly the county council taking a fresh look.”
The council told Mrs Carter that the petitioners should receive a response within 15 days.