‘Roads not suitable for proposed Sid Valley business park’s large vehicles’ - highways

School Street Sidford. Ref shs 1297-04-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

School Street Sidford. Ref shs 1297-04-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

The Sid Valley’s narrow roads are ‘not suitable’ for the large vehicles likely to service a proposed 9.3-acre business park, the county highways authority has said.

Responding to the controversial plans for land between Sidford and Sidbury, Devon County Council (DCC) says the applicant had strayed from the office and light industrial use allocated in the Local Plan – and the proposed ‘onus’ is on B2, general industrial, and B8, storage and distribution.

DCC said insufficient information had been provided and it has requested traffic assessments to identify the impact of large vehicles on the road network.

This is a revised report from DCC. Previous versions did not address residents’ concerns about rat-running through Fry’s Lane and Brook Lane and driving on pavements.

The authority’s response to the appplication says: “The B8 element has direct implications on the type and size of vehicles that will be attracted to the site and also on the suitability of the local highway network to cope with numbers of large vehicles accessing the site. In this case, the lack of width of carriageway and the lack of suitable footway and/or footway widths on the A375 at School Street, south of the site, and at Sidbury, north of the site, means that the local highway network is not suitable for large vehicles that are likely to be attracted to the development.”

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The report questioned how the applicant concluded that 15 per cent of site traffic will pass through Sidbury, adding: “I do not know on what basis this assumption has been made, nor how this percentage could be controlled in the future.

“The county highways authority considers that, even though the applicant’s traffic assessment appears to have been accepted by the [planning] inspector, this is now at least four years out of date. A more up-to-date analysis is required to test the highway impact and existing highway conditions.

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“The county highways authority is keen to introduce better pedestrian amenity at Sidford Cross junction and requests that this element is also looked at in detail by the applicant.

“This may require the introduction of electronic improvements to the signal system.

“However, this should not be at the detriment of queuing traffic to provide the pedestrian amenity.”

Objections from Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce, Natural England and the Sid Valley’s two county councillors have been lodged with planning authority East Devon District Council.

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