Seaton Down Hill

Proposal to reduce speed limit on Seaton Down Hill and at junction with A3052 is overdue – let’s make it a step to a Slower, Safer Seaton

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Devon Highways are currently consulting on a proposal to extend the 40 mph zone on Harepath Hill past the junction with Seaton Down Hill, bringing the hill itself within the 40 zone. This should help to make the junction safer – at the moment drivers coming over Harepath Hill may see the end-of-limit sign and speed up (as I know to my cost having been involved in a bump there a few years ago) – and also mean that drivers will slow down before they come into the 30 limit entering Seaton.

The change is the result of persistent pressure by the Speedwatch team, led until recently by Paul Allan, supported by the Town Council and myself as County Councillor (who have combined to fund the traffic order), which has already produced the Vehicle Activated Sign and pedestrian refuge lower down Seaton Down Hill.

However these changes need to be backed up by a campaign for a Slower, Safer Seaton, to get people driving at speeds which are viewed as safe by pedestrians. I’m on a group at Devon County Council which is looking at the problem of traffic speeds and I hope to use their proposals to promotechange locally.

Progress on traffic calming in Colyford and Seaton Down Hill – MP, councillors and police thrash out solutions with Community Speed Watch teams and residents

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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:

  1. Work should begin at the end of this month on a new pedestrian refuge in Seaton Down Hill.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Colyford will get its crossing, and Seaton Down Hill an island

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IMG_0264A 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.