Sidmouth's prospect of having a park-and-ride has 'gone', county councillor says
PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:28 16 September 2019
A much-needed 'park-and-change' could reduce Sidmouth's traffic problems, but it does not look like the town will be getting one any time soon.
Mooted for several years, such a scheme would see motorists park outside the town and catch a bus, car-share or cycle in.
County councillor Stuart Hughes, who is responsible for highways, said any 'real prospect' of having such a development had gone, as land for a site has not been included in the local plan or the neighbourhood plan.
Proposed developments outside the planning documents are rarely given approval unless there is an exceptional need.
Cllr Hughes said the only chance for Sidmouth to now have a full-blown park-and-ride/change would be if is included in the local plan when it is next updated, but that will not be for a number of years.
Persimmons Homes owns a parcel of land off Woolbrook Road, between Higher Woolbrook Park and Greenway Lane.
The developer had agreed to give up some of the land and build a park-and-ride/change if it was successful in obtaining permission to develop the site for housing.
However Persimmons' land was not included in either plan.
Cllr Hughes said: "It means the only real prospect of a full blown park-and-ride/change site has gone as any such site should be adjacent to main road and on routes that buses use.
"The 9 and 9A, 157 and many other buses pass this site and bus companies wouldn't look to re-routing away from these routes to any other site."
He added the only other sites that would be appropriate would be on the other side of the A3052, creating the problem of people crossing the main road.
Cllr Louise Cole, of the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, said: "As you know the neighbourhood plan consultations did not give rise to this site being included for now given the absence of evidence of current housing need and the fact that the housing allocation in the local plan had been met through other developments including the Pegasus development at the Knowle - as you say who knows what may be relevant in the future with appropriate evidence."
Deirdre Hounsom, the steering group's chair, added: "The policy for the park and ride is supportive and the only requirements are those that exist at the moment such as minimising the adverse effect on the AONB and protecting residential amenity.
"There are about six criteria, none of which are a showstopper.
"The supporting text refers to it being a long standing aspiration of the town council. The policy definitely does not undermine that ambition."