The scandal of the Wilmington crossings, agreed in 2015, removed from Highways England plans for the A35

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The most shocking thing I found when I first became County Councillor for the Seaton and Colyton division in 2017 was the miserable situation of people living close to the A35 in Wilmington, and the fact that they didn’t have a single crossing to get safely across the road anywhere in the village.

Then I then discovered that Highways England, the quango which runs the road, had dropped plans for two crossings and other measures, agreed in 2015 based on a consultants’ report in 2014. So in 2017-18, together with the A35 Action Group and Widworthy Parish Council, we tried to hold HE to account. They said they couldn’t justify the crossings financially because no one had been killed or seriously injured within the village – but agreed to include them in a wider scheme for the A35, justifying the cost by the regular serious accidents just outside the village.

This scheme, based on average speed cameras between Honiton and Charmouth, may now, at last, be nearing approval. But guess what – apparently the crossings are no longer part of the scheme.

This is a complete scandal. A small community, exposed to awful traffic, promised mitigation, the promises kicked down the road for year after year, which appears now to have been utterly betrayed by the unaccountable quango which runs the road.

Neil Parish MP and Councillor Marcus Hartnell should be on this instantly, to make sure that Highways England live up to their earlier promises and push through the Wilmington (and Kilmington) crossings as soon as possible. The cost will be small beer for HE, and is the absolute minimum that should be done for the villagers who have waited so long.

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