Highways England confirms that Average Speed Cameras could save lives on the A35: work going ahead on scheme which should include crossings in Wilmington and Kilmington

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HGV West to EastTogether with Cllr Andrew Pearsall, Chair of Widworthy Parish Council, and Dr Phil Webber, Chair of the A35 Action Group, I attended a meeting yesterday with representatives of Highways England in Exeter. They presented the draft results of the study they commissioned into the Average Speed Camera option, which have shown that the proposed camera scheme across the 13-mile stretch of the A35 from Honiton to Charmouth, which also includes 2 crossings in Wilmington and one in Kilmington) could have real safety benefits.

HE need to do some further work but aim to put the scheme into their ‘Value Management’ process by the end of the current financial year. A positive result there could lead to detailed design work in 2020-21 and (in the best case) construction in 2021-22.

It will be seen that this is a complex and lengthy process. Nevertheless we were told that the A35 is HE’s top priority for the SW for safety improvements and I am hopeful that this scheme will be carried forward and eventually bring some real benefits to reach the communities in the two villages who are suffering from the road.

Particular takeaways: 1. Collision data show 95 incidents involving injuries and fatalities (excluding the Hunters Lodge area and side roads) in a 5-year period.

2. Speeding through Wilmington is really bad with HE’s survey showing 15% of drivers over 35 mph (eastbound) and 37 mph (westbound) in the 30 area.

3. The next step in Wilmington may be a survey this autumn of residents’ problems and needs in relation to the road.

4. HE have an Air Quality fund but it could only be accessed if EDDC made Wilmington (where air quality levels have exceeded national limits two years running) an Air Quality Management Area.

Constructive A35 meeting at Wilmington with @HighwaysEngland – but I am concerned that the timetable is slipping

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I was at a meeting of the A35 Action Group with Highways England yesterday, in Wilmington Village Hall (members of Widworthy and Offwell parish councils attended). There was a constructive discussion of HE’s emerging proposals for managing speed on the 13 mile stretch between Honiton and Charmouth, together with remedial measures in Wilmington itself. The chair of the Action Group, Dr Phil Webber, will channel comments and suggestions on the proposals to HE following the meeting.

It was good news that the study of the proposals is under way and will be completed by March. However I was very concerned that the detailed design phase, which was envisaged for 2019-20 when I met HE two months ago,  is now pencilled in for 2020-21, and delivery has slipped from 2020-21 to 2021-22. I am writing to the regional Programme Development Manager to ask that they return to the original proposal.

County Council confirms its support for Wilmington A35 improvements, and will meet Highways England with me early next month

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IMG_0860On Thursday, the County Council unanimously gave its support to Cabinet recommendations asking for it to be a formal consultee on Highways England recommendations for safety improvements on the A35 in Wilmington. This was in response to my motion and the campaign of local residents. Right, Wilmington’s Speedwatch team on BBC Spotlight ten days ago.

I will be meeting Highways England together with County officers on August 9th.


County Council asks Highways England to bring forward and implement proposals for the A35 at Wilmington ‘as soon as practicable’

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IMG_0755​I addressed Devon County Council’s Cabinet yesterday, and they gave their support to Wilmington’s campaign ​for crossings and traffic calming measures on the A35 through the village.
The Leader, Cllr John Hart, was very supportive and said that the Council had already written to HE, but not received a reply, and they would now write again.
The resolution was ‘that the County Council engages as a consultee with Highways England on their proposals for the A35 route corridor, and requests that the proposals are brought forward and implemented as soon as practicable.’
You can watch the webcast  (Wilmington discussion starts at 1.51).

Devon County Council Cabinet to discuss @HighwaysEngland’s delays in introducing crossings on the A35 in Wilmington, where people have to cope with narrow or no pavements and 1000 lorries a day

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At the County Council on Thursday, my motion calling on Highways England to devote more resources to urgently address the need for remedial measures on the A35 in Wilmington – the worst situation of any community in East Devon, in my opinion – was remitted to the Cabinet where it will be considered on 13 June. Dr Philip Webber of the A35 Action Group told the Council of the conditions Wilmington people face and the new chair of the Council, Cllr Caroline Chugg, exceptionally allowed me to speak on the matter before it was referred to Cabinet. Cllr Claire Wright seconded the motion and Cllr Sarah Randall Johnson, formerly Wilmington’s councillor who now sits for another area, offered me her support.

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Meeting plans to secure remedial measures for Wilmington, to tame the A35’s damaging effects on the village

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Third-crash-1Last Thursday I arrived late for a meeting with the A35 Action Group in Wilmington. There had been yet another crash on the eastern side of the village (after a spate of crashes on the road in the summer: image from Devon Live).

There are problems all along this road but Wilmington’s situation is particularly bad. There is not a single pedestrian crossing and many parts of the village don’t even have pavements, although huge volumes of traffic, including large numbers of heavy goods vehicles, pass through – often at excessive speed – at all times. The situation is a scandal and I will join Neil Parish MP and representatives of Widworthy Parish Council and the Action Group to meet Highways England later this month to request urgent implementation of a series of remedial measures.