‘Traffic problems will only get worse’

Ottery St. Mary road. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 2526-05-13AW

Ottery St. Mary road. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 2526-05-13AW - Credit: Archant

‘Serious concerns’ have been voiced that traffic problems in Ottery will only get worse with the population set to increase by hundreds of people.

Residents feared that the town’s roads will struggle to cope with an expected increase in vehicle numbers - with nearly 500 new homes in the pipeline, writes Eleanor Pipe.

When questioned about what can be done to alleviate the perceived problems, town representatives admitted they were ‘just as concerned’ as the general public.

North Street, Silver Street and Broad Street were all highlighted as problem areas at the town council’s annual parish meeting, with concern about traffic from the Redrow development to the north of the town. Safety issues were also raised about the ‘blind summit’ at the top of Tip Hill.

Paul Kent, of Saddlers Lane, said: “It’s pretty bad as it is at the moment. I cannot imagine what it will be like with more people living in Ottery and the increased traffic. I think it’s going to get worse and worse.”

The 42-year-old plumbing and heating engineer said he is not against the new housing developments and welcomes more people coming to the town, but believes the roads as they are cannot cope with the volumes of traffic.

His views were echoed at the annual parish meeting, where a number of concerned residents spoke out. One member of the public asked: “Is the council concerned about the traffic problems that will occur when all the new houses are built?

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“We are really concerned about what can be done about it.”

Mayor Glyn Dobson responded: “We are as concerned as you are. People are worried about the transport and schools and the doctors, but I’m afraid there’s no easy option.”

A spokesman for highways authority Devon County Council said it is required to ‘carefully consider’ the potential impact of development on the roads using the government guidelines and that applications are considered ‘case by case’.

He added: “Where the impact is judged to be severe we can oppose development, but the final decision rests with the district council planning committee.

“Housing developments are an important part of the county’s economic growth, but they do generate additional traffic. We work with our district council partners to mitigate the impacts of that traffic where necessary, but planning policy is clear that development should only be prevented or refused on transport grounds where the impacts are considered severe, and evidence must be produced to support the recommended refusal of an application.”