“‘Inconsistent’ highways bosses have been slammed for supporting a plan to build 40 homes when they refused to support one house being built just down the road.
District Councillor Marianne Rixson raised concerns about two cases where she claims the county council’s highways department’s decision making had been ‘inconsistent’.
Highways objected to an application to build one home in Sidford Road because the proposed development was next to the A375 Sidford Road, which connects to Sidmouth and Honiton, as well as to the A3052 Exeter to Lyme Regis at Sidford Cross at a staggered traffic light junction. At peak times, the signalled junction can cause long tailbacks past the new home.
However, Highways supported an application to build 40 retirement flats at Green Close in Sidford, just 0.2 miles away..
In its report Highways said the development at Green Close would ‘potentially’ generate a slight increase in traffic compared to the site’s former use as a care home.
Cllr Rixson said the South Lawn access to the development ‘in effect is single track because of parked cars’.
“There will be 40 apartments with 24 car parking spaces. These additional vehicles will be entering and exiting via South Lawn and this could cause tailbacks at the junction of South Lawn with the A375, yet Highways raised no objections,” she said.
“I really cannot understand why Highways raise no objections to major developments yet for a single dwelling produce arguments which would be applicable to all three of the applications listed below.
“The Herald attended the meeting on December 4 and heard East Devon District Council members being sympathetic toward my objections to the change of access but stated that, as highways had not objected, it would not succeed at appeal.”
A Devon County Council spokesman said: “Despite the close proximity of the two developments the implications of the two schemes on the highways network were very different, site specific and not comparable. When as the highways authority we give our observations regarding developments we follow the National Planning Policy Framework, the National Planning Policy Guidance and the Manual for Streets to ensure that our recommendations are consistent as possible.”