Woodbury Common parking and access changes given seal of approval

PUBLISHED: 13:00 30 January 2020

Pebblebed Heaths, also known as Woodbury Common. Picture: East Devon District Council

Pebblebed Heaths, also known as Woodbury Common. Picture: East Devon District Council

Archant

Changes to vehicle access and parking at a beauty spot on the outskirts of Exmouth have moved a step closer to reality.

The South East Devon Habitat Regulations Executive Committee (SEDHREC) has rubbed stamped recommendations made for changes to the Pebblebed Heaths, also known as Woodbury Common.

Last year, an advisory report commissioned by East Devon Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust and SEDHREC recommended a number of improvements.

This included upgrading access for emergency vehicles and improving car park surfaces as well as not introducing car parking charges.

A two-month public consultation was launched off the back of the report and views submitted have been noted by the SEDHREC.

East Devon District Council deputy leader Susie Bond, chairman of the SEDHREC, said: "There were some concerns raised about height barriers, which we have taken into account.

"We have compromised by recommending some height barriers are locked open. If problems arise, these barriers could be closed.

"In response to concerns about reducing spaces at Woodbury Castle car park, this will not take place and appropriate parking spaces will be saved at Estuary View car park instead."

Dr Sam Bridgwater, head of wildlife and conservation for landowner Clinton Devon Estates, said: "The Pebblebed Heaths are much loved by East Devon residents as a site to escape and enjoy nature.

"Each year 400,000 visits are made to the heaths, with this figure set to increase as new houses are built locally.

"We welcome the broad acceptance of these access proposals as they reconcile protecting the nature that makes the site so special while respecting the access that everyone lives.

"The adoption of these plans will help ensure that the heaths continue to be rich in wildlife while continuing to support local health and wellbeing far into the future."

In its April meeting, SEDHREC will review the cost of the recommendations and decided on priorities for implementing them.

Decisions made by SEDHREC are subject to a call-in by the three councils - East Devon District Council, Exeter City Council and Teignbridge District Council.

For more information about the recommended changes to Woodbury Common, visit the South East Devon Wildlife website

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