A 20mph speed limit is to be introduced in Ottery St Mary, making the town safer for pedestrians and cyclists, and more attractive to shoppers.

The town council has been asking for the speed restriction for some time, but Devon County Council receives dozens of similar requests and prioritises them according to a set of criteria.

Ottery had narrowly missed out on selection for the second year running, but local councillor Jess Bailey discovered that highways officers had made a mistake in their assessment. After she pointed out the error, Ottery was added to the six communities that will have the new speed limit within the current financial year.

Cllr Bailey (Independent, Otter Valley) told the Herald that the officers had failed to take into account that Ottery has an active Community Speedwatch scheme. This is one of the factors contributing to an area’s ‘priority matrix’, along with average vehicle speeds and the number of vulnerable road users.

She said: "I am absolutely delighted that a 20mph scheme will be introduced in Ottery St Mary this year, as it will bring many benefits to the town. I supported the town council with their application for the scheme and was pleased to be able to identify an error by DCC which meant that Ottery would be included in this year's roll-out after all.

"Not only will the scheme make the town far safer for pedestrians and cyclists but it will encourage active travel, such as walking and cycling, and will help reduce road noise and air pollution.

"There are many challenges to pedestrians in Ottery St Mary, not least the very narrow pavements. I believe that the 20mph scheme will make a real and tangible difference to pedestrians and will encourage people into the centre of Ottery to use the many excellent independent retailers - it will help make our town more sustainable and more liveable.”

Ottery’s Independent district councillor, Vicky Johns, said: "This is really excellent news! I'm so pleased that Ottery St Mary has been successful in its application for a 20mph scheme."

The finer details of where and when the speed limit will be introduced are to be discussed with highways officers.