Progress on traffic calming in Colyford and Seaton Down Hill – MP, councillors and police thrash out solutions with Community Speed Watch teams and residents
On Friday I chaired a meeting in Colyford in which interested parties discussed solutions to problems of speeding in the village and on Seaton Down Hill. Those present including Cllr Stuart Hughes (Cabinet member for Highways) and officers, Superintendent Elaine Hartley (Speed Watch Co-ordinator Peninsula Road Safety Partnership) and other police officers, Neil Parish MP (who had chaired two earlier meetings which had brought everyone together), and representatives of Colyton Parish Council and Seaton Town Council. In a lively meeting, progress was made including:
- Work should begin at the end of this month on a new pedestrian refuge in Seaton Down Hill.
- Surveys have established that the agreed crossing in Colyford would be best situated near the Memorial Hall, but problems associated with the school buses need to be resolved before this can go ahead.
- Devon Highways have accepted in principle that the 40 mph restriction on Harepath Hill could be extended past the A3052 junction with Seaton Down Hill (because of problems of visibility at the junction and the need for pedestrians to cross from the carpark to the footpath towards Holyford Woods). This change would mean that Seaton Down Hill would also be subject to a 40 limit, as asked for by the Speed Watch team and Town Council. However funding remains to be discussed and the change will need to go through the usual formal approval process.
- Two Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) for Colyford (one at each end of the village) are under discussion between Highways, the Speed Watch team and myself.
- An additional uphill VAS sign for Seaton Down Hill is under discussion between Seaton Town Council, the Speed Watch team and myself.
The meeting was also a landmark get-together of local Community Speed Watch teams. Teams from Rousdon, Wilmington, Knowle, Ottery St Mary and West Hill, as well as the Colyford and Seaton Down Hill teams who organised the meeting, were present, and were unanimous in complaining about the slowness of police administrative procedures, the lack of data sharing, and uncertainty about how Highways and the police used Speed Watch results. Elaine Hartley acknowledged these problems and promised a meeting of teams from across Devon and Cornwall in the coming months.
I have authorised funding for the erection of a Vehicle Activated Sign near Gully Shoot at the western entrance to Colyford – which will flash up ’30, Slow Down’ to anyone driving over the speed limit – from my County Councillor’s Locality Budget. (A similar sign has recently been erected on Seaton Down Hill.)
The Colyford Speedwatch Team, Colyton parish councillors and I have agreed in principle that it is desirable to erect a second VAS at the other end of Colyford. I am paying in full for the first VAS in order to make progress within the current financial year, on the understanding that funding for a second VAS will be a matter for Colyton Parish Council to consider in budgeting for the coming financial year.
I am working with the Speedwatch teams in Colyford and Seaton Down Hill as well as the A35 Action Group in Wilmington to mitigate speeding in the area. At an earlier meeting with Neil Parish MP and Councillor Stuart Hughes, Highways agreed to install a crossing in Colyford and a pedestrian refuge in Seaton Down Hill, as well as to look again at the speed limit on the hill (which we want reduced to 40).
A packed meeting of local residents, councillors and Highways officials, with Cllr Stuart Hughes (Devon Cabinet member for Highways) and chaired by Neil Parish MP, this morning in Colyford Memorial Hall (right with mock crossing), heard that the County Council has agreed to install a zebra crossing on the A3052 before April next year. The Council has also offered to install a ‘pedestrian refuge’ (island) at the bottom of Seaton Down Hill, Seaton.
These are significant successes for the dogged campaigns waged by the Speedwatch teams in the two areas. Council officials had reservations about residents’ more comprehensive proposals for traffic calming all along the A3052 in Colyford. The Council was open to ‘gateways’ and vehicle-activated signs (VAS), providing funding can be found (my Locality Budget for Seaton and Colyton could help), but residents will certainly continue to explore more ambitious options.
Council officials also undertook to ‘look again’ at extending the 40 limit on the Harepath Hill section of the A3052 to past the Tower junction, with an implied extension to Seaton Down Hill itself. Neil Parish MP, who played an admirable role in pinning down the issues, undertook to meet again in February 2018 to review progress in the two areas.
I met yesterday with members of the Colyford Speedwatch team, who are campaigning for traffic calming in the village. We discussed various possible measures, including a crossing and a mini-roundabout on the A3052, and a Gateway on Seaton Road where the cycle way meets the road (Colyton Parish Council have already supported a funding bid for this proposal, and I reported on my discussions at their meeting yesterday evening).
I hope to meet soon with Cllr Stuart Hughes, the Devon Cabinet member for Highways, and the Speedwatch teams in Colyford and Seaton Down Hill (Seaton) will soon be convening a new meeting with the County and Neil Parish MP, which will follow up from an initial meeting held in March.
There is speculation that developers are planning to submit a new application to build on the ‘green wedge’ between Seaton and Colyford. Twice in recent weeks, residents have spotted people who appeared to carrying out preliminary surveys for such a proposal. The last application was defeated at the beginning of 2014 after a major campaign.