Ahh, Cranbrook again! The “light touch” developer-led way to build the future. – Owl
Anita Merritt www.devonlive.com
Cranbrook residents have raised concerns about five months of road closures in the town which is said to be already struggling with traffic and safety problems.
Three phases of road closures have been announced which began this week and will continue until September 3.
The planned work is to enable energy company E.ON to install a new eastern transmission main to supply hot water and heating to the eastern parts of the town and replace the need for the temporary energy centre currently operating near the Linden sales office.
Devon live has previously reported complaints from frustrated residents who say they have been faced with endless power outages leaving them without heating or hot water.
Although the works will impact on the B3174 – the old A30 – residents have been assured the whole of the stretch of the road will not be closed at the same time.
However, concerns have been raised by some residents who say that it will increase traffic problems in the town and it poses safety risks.
Cranbrook Town Council has said traffic and safety issue in the town are in need of review and have raised it with highway officers.
A local man, who has lived in Cranbrook for four years, said: “The official diversion for these roadworks send traffic away from Cranbrook, a route which is of some significant distance to the daily commuter that uses the B3174.
“Now it is widely known and accepted that people will drive through Cranbrook along Tillhouse and Younghayes roads increasing the traffic flow significantly.
“These roads are already of some concern for safety due to parking, traffic and a complete lack of pedestrian crossings in a town which is supposed to be a town promoting healthy living.”
Revealing what impact the first road closure has had on the town so far this week, he said: “As expected traffic around the morning rush hour was fairly stationary, both outbound and inbound. The primary cause for this was the traffic lights outside E.ON in the morning.
“The afternoon rush hour was again stationary inbound into Cranbrook. On Wednesday afternoon the traffic was not too bad as there is no longer a campervan parked just off the roundabout as you come into Cranbrook.”
Other residents have questioned why the works are taking place now rather than previously.
One man said: “Why is this even happening? Was it a surprise to E.ON and the council that more houses were being built?
“As usual zero forward planning. This infrastructure should have been installed years ago.”
E.ON has explained why the road closures are in place and how the works will benefit the town.
An E.ON spokesperson said: “Temporary road closures are necessary from time to time to ensure infrastructure improvements can be made. In this case, we’re working to expand the existing district heating network in the wider Cranbrook vicinity and install the resilience to support the ongoing growth of the district heating network.
“We’ve worked closely with the local authority to ensure we carry out the work safely, effectively and to minimise local disruption, in line with all their usual procedures.”
The announced road closures are:
April 6 to May 14 – From Younghayes Road roundabout to Treasbeare Lane (Treasbeare Cottages)
May 17 to June 25 – From Treasbeare Lane to Parsons Lane
June 28 to September 3 – From Parsons Lane to Court Royal
A spokesman for Devon County Council said: “This work requires significant highway excavation so traffic management is essential and has been carefully considered as part of the planning process.
“We will continue to work with E.ON to monitor any disruption and minimise the impact where possible.”
Cranbrook Town Council has assured residents the whole of the B3174 will not be closed at the same time for months and all traffic will not be going past the Education Campus.
A town council spokesperson said: “In all cases the signed diversion route is via the A3052, but we know that drivers with local knowledge will use more local routes to avoid the closure.
“We understand that Highways England declined consent to use the A30 as a signed diversion route.
“While we appreciate this situation will create more traffic in the town and that this will, at times, be inconvenient and cause some delay to motorists, the disruption is unavoidable while this essential work is carried out.
“There have been demands to stop all parking along Younghayes Road and along other parts of the main local routes through the town, but that would have the effect of creating faster speeds through the town.
“While parked vehicles cause delay and disruption to traffic flows, they have the added impact of slowing and calming traffic. So this is a balance between inconvenience and overall safety.
“Any requests for temporary parking restrictions would be a matter for the highway authority, but at this stage the town council is not seeking any such restrictions.
“The question of pedestrian crossings in the town is a more general issue and one that the town council and locally elected members have been pursuing with the highway authority along with other traditional road safety measures.
“To date the approach in Cranbrook is to have no traditional lines and signs and allow the design of roads and differing surfaces to create road safety features and traffic calming.
“For some time we have felt that this policy for Cranbrook is in need of review and have raised it with highway officers. We have plans to address this in a meeting with the highway authority and the MP after the forthcoming county council elections.
“In addition to pedestrian crossings, we will be asking the highway authority to review the use of white and yellow lines in the town to address the instances of inappropriate and inconsiderate parking particularly adjacent to road junctions, on footways and across cycle ways.”
Highways England were approached for a comment.