The highways consultation is now closed.
Read the results of the consultation.
Below you will find comments left on this page during the consultation.
I drive regularly between Lifton and Tavistock in West Devon and i travel at around 7.45 each morning to teach at Lifton Community Primary School – it is a very steep and often icy stretch of road in winter and in 2009, when pregnant and travelling to work with my young daughter in the car I was involved in an accident which wrote off my car when an out-of control car came down a hill slick with ice and crashed into my nearly-stationary car. luckily I was for the most part unhurt, but I am still very fearful of travelling this stretch of road, even when it is gritted. The prospect of driving regularly on an ungritted icy surface is impossible for me to consider safe, and I would feel let down by my council if this was a decision they took.
I am Clerk to the small East Devon parish of Aylesbeare. In February 2014 there was 444 on our Electoral Register. Whilst members of the Parish Council are very appreciative that the reducing Highways budget means front line services will inevitably be affected they are very concerned of the effect this will have on Aylesbeare. What will happen if suitable volunteers do not come forward to help maintain the hedges and roads? Will the Highways Department allow everything to become overgrown by not supporting us? Ours is a dormitory parish; those of working age are out all day – can we realistically ask retired people over the age of 70 to take on these roles? Especially filling potholes. This is a skilled job and should be done by skilled workers. Some of our lanes are relatively narrow if the hedges are left this would adversely affect the safety of road users. Some changes must be made but DCC please think again regarding potholes, charging for grit and leaving us small parishes unprotected.
DCC please note that Thorverton P Council has committed on proposed reductions to gritting routes on the proposals and feedback form
South Pool Parish Council objects to all the proposed changes and believes that Devon County Council will be abandoning the vital infrastrucure of the whole County with this policy. In particular we object to cuts in the gritting of country roads – all school bus routes should be gritted for the safety of the children including the route which runs from Cousins Cross through South Pool to Frogmore. Two school buses use this route twice a day during term time. If the bus operators refuse to run their buses then children will be unable to attend school or their parents will need to take them along untreated roads possibly leading to accidents. At a time when care policy is being changed so that the elderly can stay in their own homes non gritting will impede Carers and food delivery services from getting to the elderly living in their own homes in country parishes.at a time when they are particularly vunerable. It will also impact on the ability of the emergency sevices reaching more remote areas. We also object to cutting of Lenghtsmen services- this will lead to blocked buddle holes and drains causing further flooding to Parishes like South Pool that flood regularly.
The Parish Council has informed residents of Thorverton of the possible removal of Gritting services from the A396 at The Ruffwell into the village to Broadlands Estate in Thorverton. I am writing to register my sincere concern at the removal of the current service on the grounds of the safety and health of all parishioners. I list my main reasons and request these are given serious consideration prior to a decision. 1. The road from The Ruffwell (on A396) to Thorverton is the main link (and currently the only link in bad weather) for all services in and out of village. 2. Access to the village of all types of emergency vehicles. 3. The village has a large number of senior citizens who are dependent on the Local Doctors Surgery for health support and medical prescriptions. All the doctors, nurses and many support staff travel to our village daily from outside the area. Daily deliveries of prescriptions and medicines are also made to the village from the NHS. 4. The village has a Primary School catering for the education of some 80 children. All the teachers and many support staff travel daily to the school from outside the area. Secondary School transport to Exeter and Crediton again uses the road to the Ruffwell. 5 The village has only a small shop (in an old bus) and no other facility for groceries and other necessities. Residents have to drive to supermarkets in Exeter and Tiverton. 6. The bus services to Broadlands in Thorverton is a lifeline to pensioners and people who do not have cars. 7. A very large number of residents are employed in the Exeter and Tiverton area and commute daily. 8. The residents of our village pay their Council Tax based on similar rates to those of Exeter and Tiverton and are entitled to demand and expect a safe and accessible link from the village to the main A396 road. Thank you
Barnstaple Town Council notes with dismay Devon County Council’s proposals for further cuts in its highway budget. If approved, the changes will increase the risk of death and serious injury to motorists and pedestrians as a consequence of reduced winter gritting. The proposal to suggest that residents themselves pay for salt to stock salt bins is an insult to the community from an organisation that says it exists to “support those in greatest need; promote health and wellbeing; and maintain Devon’s huge road network.”
Further reductions in grass cutting will also add to dangers for highway users, and already unkempt verges and roundabouts will become eyesores across our beautiful county. The County Council will be sending a signal to residents and visitors that it is happy to see its urban areas such as Barnstaple resemble ghost towns.
With other huge service reductions agreed or proposed across other areas of County Council responsibility – care homes, day care, youth provision, libraries, etc. – the County Council is abandoning its community. We understand the huge financial pressures it faces, and could understand the decisions more readily, if the County Council had focused its cuts programme on its own internal machinery. Instead it continues to spend over £40 million on its Corporate Services Directorate – the back office, and reduced this spending by only £0.5 million last year.
£1 in every £7.50 raised by DCC from council tax goes towards internal services such as Policy, Business Strategy, Communications, Procurement, Facilities Management and Workforce Development, none of which are meaningful to Devon’s residents in the same way as care homes, highways maintenance and libraries.
No doubt they are all important to the effective operation of a large organisation, but to the community these ‘back office’ services are the starting point for financial savings. We urge the County Council to put on hold the programme of cutting front line services until all avenues to reduce its back office costs have been successfully pursued.
Crediton Town Council objects to the proposed cuts in the highways provision. It is extremely concerned that Devon County Council is doing nothing to reduce the impact that severe weather events have on the county. The proposed cuts are shortsighted, they will compromise safety, cause damage to historic /heritage assets, adversely impact the landscape and create visual eyesores for residents and visitors to the area.
We appreciate that funds are short and in the absence of increased taxes certain cuts in service are inevitable. Obviously the first priority is safety; adequate gritting and salting being essential in icy conditions. Volunteers can fill some but not all of the gaps, and such schemes must be adequately supported to be effective. Volunteers may be able to keep the bins filled if the Council supplies the salt, but the Parish Council feels that it is not acceptable to ask Parishioners to pay for the supply as well as the distribution. Access to amenities is important for all our Parishioners some of whom need to travel for work and some, especially the elderly, for shopping and health care. It is also critical that emergency services are able to access the area. The Parish Council believes it is wrong to sell off assets (picnic site land) as this is a very short term advantage which may be regretted. Visual amenity is an important consideration in our area and this will be adversely affected by a number of the proposed cuts. The Parish Council are in favour of minimising the loss of front-line staff in all areas, but realise that this can only be accomplished by reducing staff numbers at higher levels or by increasing taxation.
Tawstock Parish Council resolved to express its deep concerns as to the impact on rural communities of yet further cuts to winter service provisions; rural communities will not be able to access the main highways network during cold weather events due to reduced winter weather provisions by DCC – communities do not have the capacity to safely address these events.
Fremington Parish Council Members would like to make strong representations against these cuts, the Parish Council has concerns over the practicalities of the proposals and feels it would impact on public safety. The Parish Council would like information on the budget DCC holds for claims against them for damaged vehicles and the amount it actually pays out.
Besley Lane needs serious attention the temp road sign is still at the end of the lane and has been since the summer are we to believe that this is a permanent sign !!! If it is we will be putting in a claim for our vehicle as the garage has said to us that at the next mot we will have to spend a lot of money on it. The drains are all blocked, who are going to pay for expense when we are flooded out ??? The verges need ploughing outto find the drains we are happy to keep them clear if this was done. We pay a very high council tax with only a refuge collection and they are reluctant to come down with their vehicle. A lot of roads are being done which are not so bad as ours the road surface is beyond a joke.
Thank you for your comments. An email has been sent requesting further location details.
1. Given the geography of the Devon area it would be wrong to try and save money by reducing gritting, the snow clearing fleet and the routes. People’s safety is paramount and should be given priority. 2. Restocking of grit bins is a service that town and parish councils or community groups could take responsibility for. 3. No objections to closure of picnic sites. 4. Reduction in grass cutting is not something that should be considered as it will affect the amenity of people and cutting highway verges is too dangerous and difficult for people to do themselves. Could also result in a reduction in tourism. 5. Many of these proposals will result in more accidents and a cost to the National Health Service plus a decrease in the well-being of the general public so no savings to be made in the long term, just passing the cost to someone else.
I feel very sorry for DCC, perceiving you to be ‘between a rock and a hard place’ as a result of unbalanced cuts in government funding. If there were anything I could do to help, I would – you have my email address.
I am concerned about some aspects of your highway proposals: 1. Snow clearance should cover all roads with bus services in the following 24 hours. 2. Reducing grass cutting is OK, but I notice that a lot of road safety signs are now being obstructed by trees and shrubs. The highway authority must make sure all signs are clear. 3. Closing picnic sites on A361,A39 seems mean as this long stretch of road needs places where refreshment and rest are available in safety. If theses sites have to be put up for sale, please facilitate motorway-style services to take them over.
Dear County Council, Having read the idea of closing the picnic sites on the A361 and A39 roads I think this is a very dangerous thing to propose. We all know that TIREDNESS CAN KILL and for motorists coming off the motorway to our narrow congested roads is asking for an accident to happen. We all know the North Devon Link road has seen the death of many motorists and the closure of the picnic sites with their facilities would be criminal.
Have any of your people spent a week at the Log Cabin Diner on the A361 to see just how many people use it? I know for a fact that Wednesdays is a particularly busy day there with people coming from all over North Devon and beyond. I am sure that the other picnic stops along the A39 are used well too.
I do hope the County Council will think very carefully before closing these vital stops.
It’s bad enough with all the other cuts to grass cutting and salting of minor roads that Council Tax payers are now going to have to fund themselves. Please don’t cause more accidents through tired drivers having nowhere to stop for a drink and a rest.
Peter and Bonnie Webber, South Molton
I was proposing complete your feedback form on your proposed winter road cost cutting but the approved answers are so restrictive that they present you with a false view. For starters I would be against any cut in the services you provide, secondly I seriously question the cost allocated to these proposals, how it can cost £133,000 to maintain four picnic sites is beyond me, these sites are grouped in pairs about 10 miles apart, so one man with a van assigned full time would only cost about £50,000 pa. I live in Totnes and we were notified that our road would be closed for five days to carry essential drainage work, this notification was delivered by hand and announce in the local press, on the scheduled day three vehicles arrived with six men, they started to cut the tarmac,around 10 am another lorry arrived with a mini digger and dug out what had been cut, an area 1 met
Sorry but previous comment was not completed due to computer operator glitch. to continue: area was 1 meter x 33 meters and at 1pm lorry arrived with tarmac which was laid in the cut out area to a slightly different fall, all was completed by 3.30pm and all men and vehicles had left by 4 pm. Following morning pick-up arrives with two men and collected all the traffic cones that had been placed in the street weekend before work commenced, then another van arrives with two men, brushed up and then sat in the van until around 3.30pm. Is this efficient, we had a road closure order that was never implemented, 12 men involved with a job that two men could have done easily in a day, it is total inefficiency, and this is the part that council tax payers see, how much is being wasted in areas we don’t see, don’t look to cut front line services, improve your efficiency,, .
I’ve just tried, twice, to complete your on-line questionnaire on Highways information to Councillors and twice failed. The first time I did not answer every question as it was impossible for me to answer truthfully ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when my answer would have to be mitigated by a more complex statement. The second time, because the first attempt failed, I did fill in all the answers, but qualified this in the comments box at the end. However, I was still unable to send the response off.
what is going wrong please?
Thank you for your comments. We have carried out tests on the site and there have been no errors found. An email has been sent to you to obtain further information.
I believe that the timr has come to increase Council Tax. The population of Devon demand services of their County Council, give them the opportunity to pay for those services. While there is scope to cut services where they are not used, and staff where they do not make a useful contribution I believe that the community can, and should, pay for their services. There have been few increases over the past 5 years, as we recover from recession the time has come to recover some of the losses. I am not sure what difference it would make but a substantial increase this year ( say 20%) followed by regular above inflation increases for 4 years would have support if people could see the benefit to services and, most importantly, were persuaded that the money wouldn’t be wasted.