Green light shines for 300-home estate
By Mid Devon Gazette | Tuesday, February 05, 2013, 08:00
MID Devon planners have paved the way for another 300 homes on the edge of Tiverton, amid concerns over pedestrian safety.
Land at Farleigh Meadows, off Rackenford Road, has been earmarked by the Prescott Trust for the largest housing scheme the town has seen in years.
The project was approved last week when it was debated by Mid Devon District Council for a third time after planning officers were asked to look again at road safety issues given the large number of people expected to walk to and from the estate.
Cllr Alan Griffiths, a member of Mid Devon's planning committee, said: "I am glad my grave concerns at the first site meeting, which were pooh-poohed, are now being considered."
The scheme was deferred at two previous meetings so consideration could be given to a pedestrian route from the estate to the town centre.
A footpath will run along the edge of the site to Higher Loughborough where it will join a zebra crossing near to the junction with Rackenford Road. A second, unmanaged crossing will be provided, with a dropped kerb, and existing visibility for both drivers and pedestrians will be maintained, a council report states.
A roundabout will be provided on Rackenford Road in the hope of slowing down traffic.
Among the conditions for planning permission, the developer will be asked to pay more than £20,000 towards improvements at junction 27 of the M5, £150,000 to start up a bus service to and from Farleigh Meadows, and work to build two access points to the site and a cycle route from the site and the town.
A second pathway and cycle route could also be developed on land between the leat and the River Exe.
Sir Ian Amory, on behalf of the Prescott Trust, told planners 35 per cent of the homes developed would be affordable.
He said: "This has been an allocated site for some years now and we would really like to get on and help the development of Tiverton, especially with affordable homes which are needed. A significant number will be provided. The roundabout is going to change the pattern and speed of traffic fairly dramatically and we think that is going to help."
Objector Mark Drysdale, who lives at Higher Loughborough, raised concerns regarding the junction of Higher Loughborough and Rackenford Road.
He said visibility there was poor and he added that a mirror provided to help motorists manoeuvre out of the turning was often obscured.
Mr Drysdale said: "The proposal would mean vehicles turning left out of Higher Loughborough towards the town would not only have to cope with restricted visibility from the right, but would have to be aware of pedestrians crossing, or traffic queuing from the left, making the junction even more dangerous."
Simon Trafford, planning officer for the council, said the views of residents and highway experts had been considered and he told members he recommended the plan should be approved.
He said: "The evidence basis of this is that the whole environment will change significantly.
"There are two major interventions that will cause drivers to slow down and over time, clearly people's perception of Rackenford Road will change because it will no longer be an uninterrupted B road on which people can travel at 60mph."