“Laybys in Cranbrook are being used by lorry drivers to ‘entertain’ women”

Owl LOVES the comment from the DCC officer: ““I know this is not a popular thing to suggest, but the people who bought the houses bought them in full knowledge of the layby” but Owl thinks they expected the LORRIES to be laid by, not ladies being laid by lorry drivers!

“Two laybys that lorry drivers are using to ‘entertain’ female companions will be closed.

The laybys, right in the middle of Cranbrook, are also being used a public toilet, for boy racers to congregate and play loud music and swear, and the proximity to houses mean that lorry drivers can see into homes from their cabs.

Unanimous agreement was given by councillors to close the laybys and for Devon County Council’s Highways officers to come up with a solution.

Cllr Ray Bloxham, who brought the proposal to Friday’s East Devon Highways and Traffic Orders Committee, said that the laybys used to be in a rural location but now are right in the middle of Cranbrook, and homes are now located immediately adjacent to the laybys.

He said: “The two laybys in question are now principally used by HGVs for overnight parking as a free car park. This results in considerable disturbance to adjacent households and there have been a series of complaints about noise disturbance especially overnight from refrigerated units and from engines being started and left running during the early hours. There have been ancillary complaints about anti-social behaviour by drivers using the hedgerow as a toilet and other unpleasant behaviours.

“The complaints by local residents have been referred to both Environmental Health at East Devon District Council and to Highways, and the only solution that was put forward and supported by highways department was to close the laybys.”

He added that there was organised lorry parking less than a mile away in Clyst Honiton, but there is a fee for it, so they prefer to park for free.

A resident of Roman Way, which is just 15m away over a hedge from the layby, said that they are facing anti-social behaviour ‘night and day’.

She said: “There are privacy issues as from their cabs, they can see into our residences, while the anti-social behaviour is disturbing out sleep. One lorry driver ‘entertained’ a female companion in his cab overnight and she left at 5.30am in the morning – this is the kind of behaviour we want to end.

“Some of the drivers urinate and use the hedge as a toilet, and they leave litter there which attracts vermin, and at night you get boy racers there and they play music and swear loudly.

“It is a real nuisance and causes health risks to us and our children. It doesn’t support the healthy town concept and for us as residents, the issues are very real. If you lived in our home and had this every day and night, you would realise the issues that we are facing at the moment.”

Mike Jones, Senior Devon County Council Traffic Officer, said that the laybys were on the road so lorry drivers do have a place to stop. He added that the road is a diversion route for the A30 and the road does need marshalling facilities and laybys are a useful thing to have, before saying: “I know this is not a popular thing to suggest, but the people who bought the houses bought them in full knowledge of the layby.”

But Cllr Richard Scott said that was an inappropriate argument to make, as it would be the same as saying if you bought a house next to a field, then it could never be built on. He said that if that argument was used, then Cranbrook itself would never have been built.

Cllr Phil Twiss said that he fully supported the laybys being closed to vehicles, but said that as a cyclist who used the road, those laybys are a handy little refuge to stop and have a drink or check tyres. He said: “I agree that we should close them, but officers need to go away and come up with a practical solution.”

The East Devon HATOC unanimously agreed that the two laybys, located on opposite sides of the highway alongside the B3174 at Cranbrook, approximately 100m west of Parsons Lane, be closed to vehicular use, either by the introduction of a Traffic Regulation Order, or a different solution that the highways department could identify which meant moving the kerb line.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/laybys-cranbrook-being-used-lorry-2303961

“Luxembourg to become first country to make all public transport free”

“Luxembourg is set to become the first country in the world to make all its public transport free.

Fares on trains, trams and buses will be lifted next summer under the plans of the re-elected coalition government led by Xavier Bettel, who was sworn in for a second term as prime minister on Wednesday.

Bettel, whose Democratic party will form a government with the leftwing Socialist Workers’ party and the Greens, had vowed to prioritise the environment during the recent election campaign.

On top of the transport pledge, the new government is also considering legalising cannabis, and introducing two new public holidays.

Luxembourg City, the capital of the small Grand Duchy, suffers from some of the worst traffic congestion in the world.

It is home to about 110,000 people, but a further 400,000 commute into the city to work. A study suggested that drivers in the capital spent an average of 33 hours in traffic jams in 2016.

While the country as a whole has 600,000 inhabitants, nearly 200,000 people living in France, Belgium and Germany cross the border every day to work in Luxembourg.

Luxembourg has increasingly shown a progressive attitude to transport. This summer, the government brought in free transport for every child and young person under the age of 20. Secondary school students can use free shuttles between their institution and their home. Commuters need only pay €2 (£1.78) for up to two hours of travel, which in a country of just 999 sq miles (2,590 sq km) covers almost all journeys.

Now, from the start of 2020 all tickets will be abolished, saving on the collection of fares and the policing of ticket purchases. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/05/luxembourg-to-become-first-country-to-make-all-public-transport-free

“HS2 rail chief Terry Morgan faces sack over spiralling costs”

The chairman of HS2 is facing the sack less than five months after his appointment because of fears that costs are spiralling out of control.

Sir Terry Morgan is also set to be removed as the chairman of Crossrail, the ambitious line linking east and west London, relieving him of leadership of two of the UK’s highest-profile infrastructure projects, according to a report.

Theresa May was expected to move against Morgan, who was described as “world-class” by Grayling when he appointed him in July to HS2, the planned high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham. A source said that Morgan was expected to leave both posts within weeks.

The news was first reported by the Financial Times on Friday. It is thought that both Grayling and the chancellor, Philip Hammond, had declared they had no confidence in Morgan’s leadership and urged May to remove him.

The FT quoted a government official close to HS2 as saying: “They told the prime minister they have no confidence in him and she agrees. It is only a question of finding the right moment to announce it.”

Downing Street, the Department for Transport and HS2 declined to comment. The DfT said: “We would not comment on personnel matters.” …

Grayling had allied himself closely to Morgan in the summer. “Sir Terry’s appointment as chair of HS2 ensures that we will continue to see world-class leadership in an exciting period for one of Europe’s most significant infrastructure projects, helping deliver huge economic growth and improvements for passengers across the country,” he said when he announced the decision.

Morgan, the transport secretary added, had a “wealth of experience and expertise”, as well as a “respected reputation and enthusiasm”. He cited Morgan’s work on previous infrastructure projects, including upgrading several London Underground lines and working at BAE Systems. Morgan said the appointment was a “privilege” and promised HS2 would “help transform this country”.

But concerns were raised about its direction after it emerged days after Morgan’s appointment at HS2 that Crossrail was running about £600m over budget. And, in August, the government’s infrastructure adviser said ministers should spend an extra £43bn on projects linked to HS2 in order to make it worthwhile.

In an article for the Sunday Telegraph, the chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said the government “cannot simply construct a new high-speed rail line and leave it at that; to get the biggest bang for our buck, we need to think about the whole journey that passengers will take”.

He went on: “Once people reach the end of their HS2 journey and travel into the city they are visiting, on current form, they would in many cases face inadequate public transport links and congestion on the roads.” To deal with that, he suggested handing the cash to local areas to improve their infrastructure.

There were further reports that HS2’s budget could eventually spiral to £80bn. The Sunday Times said a leaked report had warned that the official budget of £56bn for the project may have to be significantly increased.”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/nov/30/hs2-rail-chief-terry-morgan-faces-sack-over-spiralling-costs

Sidford Business Park: Traffic action group to reveal survey results at public meetings on 21 November 2018

Sidbury Traffic Action Group (STAG) is hosting a meeting in which the results of a traffic survey will be announced.

The survey focused on electronic speed and traffic movement and was part of ongoing concerns over drivers not sticking to the enforced speed limits.

Also at the meeting, the group will discuss the establishment of a speed watch group that will work in conjunction with the police.

There will be information about the group’s recent discussions with Devon County Council.

Finally, the group will reveal where it will go next in their pursuit for 20mph flashing signs.

The group launched a campaign in April urging people to ‘kill their speed and not villagers’.

Members of the group have concerns with cars breaking the speed limits in the town.

The meeting will take place in Sidbury Village Hall on November 21 at 2 and 7pm.”

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/sidbury-traffic-action-group-to-reveal-survey-results-at-public-meeting-1-5781477

“Calls for removal of Sidford business park site in Local Plan are ‘unrealistic’, says Highways boss [Stuart Hughes]”

Owl says: Interestingly Hughes does not explain why the site was added at the very last minute and why officers and Tory councillors did not attempt to remove it BEFORE it went to the inspector when its inclusion had been highlighted by local people in time for remedial action ….. especially as Hughes is the area’s DCC councillor with responsibility for highways.

“Cllr Hughes said: “If the decision is appealed by the applicant then it will be considered by a planning inspector.

“It would however also allow representations to be made to the inspector on other elements such as flooding, AONB etc.”

Calls to change the Local Plan:

“Suggesting the land at Sidford should be taken out of the Local Plan is unrealistic, given the plan is already in place.

“A Local Plan inspector is not going to review a decision for an already ‘made plan’ that has been in effect for some time.

“By the time any refresh of the East Devon Local Plan is completed this matter will have most likely been decided and there should not be any false hope or expectation put forward that this will be any different.

“The simple truth is that the land allocation at Sidford should never have been included in the Local Plan.

“It came in as a late addition without full consideration of its suitability, particularly as other far more appropriate sites which were ‘brownfield’ should have been considered and were put forward at the early stages of the process of making the Local Plan.

“My personal suggested site would have been adjacent to the Garden Centre on the A3052. …”

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/calls-for-removal-of-sidford-business-park-site-in-local-plan-are-unrealistic-says-highways-boss-1-5781382

“Funding [loan] agreed for Axminster relief road that will end gridlock in the town centre

This loan of £7 million is being taken out based on an expectation that developers will pay it back … good luck there councillors, especially as developers are Crown Estates and … drum roll or scary music … PERSIMMON!

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/funding-agreed-axminster-relief-road-2211212