After years of campaigning by Andy Swain, with support from locals, Ide Parish Council, West Exe School and Alan Connett County Councillor, Devon highways have shifted their position and agreed to a trial closure to protect Balls farm Road.
The closure will be on doctors walk, rather than Balls Farm Road as previously suggested. This will give less protection to Ball farm Road Than closure at the twisted oak, but has the advantage it will stop the separate problem of fast traffic up little Johns cross hill, and also I hope, will be less disruption to the residents. It could halve the traffic on Balls farm Road which will be a huge improvement. We will do surveys to establish if it does.
It will still be illegal to shortcut down Little Johns Cross Hill and up Balls Farm Road, as it always has been. Devon County Council will be monitoring the closure, and I hope residents of the roads and surrounding areas will enjoy the benefit of finally stopping the rat running traffic and having a safe protecting walking and cycling route into exeter from Ide.
Exeter in turn benefits from a significant extension of it’s good quality cycle network into a village outside the A30 barrier.
There is government money at the moment to encourage active travel (Walking and Cycling). Alan Connett has raised concern at DCC that it is being hoovered up by large urban centres, Exeter and Newton Abbot and not enough is being done to link up with rural communities on the outskirts and grow the network.
Andy Swain has raised the suggestion of making the Alphington Junction safer for pedestrians and cyclists between C50 and Old Ide Lane, Alphington, Marsh barton and the River, by closing one lane permanently as it has been recently with the road works.
The lane closure makes this very difficult crossing much easier and safer, and has virtually no effect on traffic, because only one lane of traffic at a time flows into that slip road.
In response Yvonne Atkinson ECC Councillor says it is a Highways England matter, which is true it is, however Highways England say they would be guided by the County Council/Devon Highways, and Devon Highways have responded very positively to the idea. So overall it’s a promising response.
A petition to cut traffic speed at Firs Park, organised by councillors Alan Connett and Andy Swain, with 56 signatures from residents and regular visitors to the park, was delivered to Devon County Council at the cabinet meeting on wednesday.
“We are residents and visitors to Firs Park, a residential park at Bakers Hill, Pocombe Bridge, just outside Exeter. We take our lives in our hands to cross the road or leave the entrance to our site. We call on Devon County Council to cut the speed limit so that it is no more than 30mph at the entrance to Firs Park. We genuinely fear for our safety and want action to make this road safe.”