New plan for cameras to catch out Devon drivers

Cameras are set to be installed to prohibit motorists from driving through a ‘bus gate’ to access a new housing development in Barnstaple in order to better manage traffic in the area.

Daniel Clark www.devonlive.com

The North Devon Highways and Traffic Orders Committee, when they meet next Wednesday, are being recommended to revise the access arrangements for a large housing development at Larkbear being constructed between Old Torrington Road and the A361.

Planning permission has been granted for over 200 new homes, with the potential for more to be constructed in the future, with the existing arrangements which require traffic to access the estate via Bickington Road and Old Torrington Road to north leading to congestion.

This is because a ‘bus gate’ is currently in place, preventing access from Gratton Way, which mean most vehicles are banned from driving through the ‘gate’, which despite the name, does not feature a physical barrier.

But the proposals, which have been backed by residents and officers, would revoke that traffic regulation and introduce a new bus gate on Old Torrington Road, to the north of the junction with Gratton Way, which would be enforced by cameras.

This would mean that traffic would be directed through Gratton Way to the new development, the crematorium and properties at the southern end of Old Torrington Road instead of from Bickington Road (A3125), in order to better manage traffic in the area and reduce congestion due to the new housing development.

The proposed changes to the Restrictions in Old Torrington Road in Barnstaple

The proposed changes to the Restrictions in Old Torrington Road in Barnstaple

The proposals and associated works are being funded by the housing developer for the Larkbear development, Persimmon Homes and the camera enforcement equipment for the bus gate would also be funded by the developer, councillors on the HATOC will be told.

Only buses, emergency vehicles and bicycles would allowed to pass along the section of road, which would be monitored by cameras which recognise number plates, and those breaching the restrictions would be liable for penalty charge notices.

Meg Booth, chief officer for highways, infrastructure development and waste, in her report, said these proposals would reduce congestion and traffic queuing on Old Torrington Road at the A3125 and the alternative of not implementing the proposed bus gate would cause too much congestion.

Consultation with residents throughout May and June had seen 224 responses received, of which 174 were in favour and 47 objected, and Mrs Booth added: “After considering the comments, it is recommended that the new bus gate and associated waiting restrictions on Old Torrington Road are introduced as advertised. It is also recommended that existing bus gate on Gratton Way is revoked as advertised.”

The North Devon HATOC, when they meet on Wednesday, July 7, are recommended that the proposed bus gate and waiting restrictions on Old Torrington Road be implemented as advertised and the traffic regulation orders be made and sealed, and the existing prohibition on Gratton Way be revoked as advertised and the traffic regulation order be made and sealed.

Under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, councils are allowed to carry out a number of measures under the banner of civil parking enforcement (CPE), including fining people for misusing bus gates.

However, measures like this cannot be implemented purely to generate revenue – they must be put in place to make the surrounding area safer or to improve traffic flow.

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