Sidmouth councillor seeks passing place backing

Sidmouth Hopper drivers seek passing place on Salcombe Regis lane

A PASSING place along a lane near Salcombe Regis would alleviate problems for Sidmouth’s Hopper Bus drivers.

Raising the concerns of drivers of the minibus, which operates for residents and tourists during the summer months, Councillor John Dyson told fellow town councillors at Monday’s monthly meeting: “Someone has to pick up and run with it. It will require sponsorship and people prepared to support it.”

He said a passing place on the lane, between Thorn House and the war memorial, would benefit other drivers too, as well as horse riders, cyclists and pedestrians.

The Hopper drivers have encountered problems when meeting oncoming traffic while en route to Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary.

Mr Dyson said Tony Reed, chairman of the bus’s working party, was obtaining quotations for the work involved, which included clearing a large amount of foliage as well as closing the road while the passing place is under construction.

He thought costs were likely to exceed �5,000 and hoped Sidmouth Town Council would support the work, utilising its Woolley Trust to help finance it.

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“I think it will be more like �8-9,000, but the bus will support it and there are other possible sources, but at the end of the day it will require support from the town council,” he said.

Councillor David Barrett said: “It is very much a safety issue here for any vehicle going along here, not just the bus.

“We need to be clear how much it is going to cost and strongly support working towards that, but shouldn’t there be some sort of funding from the county?”

While most councillors supported the idea, some expressed concern at whether it was an issue the town council should help finance after its budget for the year had been set.

Councillor Jeff Turner, responsible for finance, said: “It is not a Hopper issue. People have been putting up with it for many years. Either Devon County Council does it or not, but it is an issue the town council could raise with the highway authority.”

Councillors agreed to discuss the issue at next week’s meeting of its Traffic Management Group when DCC officers are present.