To receive any questions relating to items on the agenda from members of the public and replies thereto.
All questions referred to item 5 Cullompton Relief Road
Sarah Cagney stated that bearing in mind that the HIF funding was originally to be used to improve Junction 28, can you please explain how the relief road is going to do this and why that funding should therefore go to that because the relief road is not going to make any difference to the junction of the motorway and the traffic build up.
Catherine Penharris stated, first of all I am going to ask what is best because we keep hearing what is best for Cullompton. In one of your reports it says I think by one of the inspectors that Cullompton doesn’t have a bad queuing issue. It also says in the 2018 air quality stat report that where Tiverton Road meets Fore Street within Cullompton it recorded the largest decrease in the NO2 annual concentration. You have also used £132,000 for progress of the fund and you’ve allowed another £250,000 from S106 money, but this is currently considered at risk in an absence of a final decision on the HIF. If route A and B is flooded, the road will be closed and the traffic will go through the town centre, so I am assuming that this is a short term fix because in your report it also says ‘a failure to deliver the relief road will be an ongoing obstacle to the timely deliverance of housing allocated in the current and the emerging local plan beyond the numbers discussed’. So you have got 40% less traffic in the High Street with option B and option A, but with option C it would be better for the congestion at Junction 28. You have already stated that Junction 28 is the one that is causing the problem and later on when the Garden Village comes along you will do more road infrastructure and do more work on Junction 28. Can you explain to me why option C is not a viable option? You’ve said you’ve chosen option B on the public consultation but when the Town Council gives you recommendations you don’t take any notice of those and when there are other recommendations coming through you don’t take any notice of those, but when a recommendation has come through for you to build a short term fix for a long term problem you take notice of it. I think a lot of it is because it’s going to make things easier for you to do the Garden Village. So can you explain to me the reasoning behind where you’ve got all these reports, that you have still chosen option B which granted for the CCA is better than option A but option C is better for your long term plan?
Ashley Wilce – Resident - No doubt this Cabinet is patting itself on the back for a job well done. The truth, however, is that the consultation is nothing more than lies and spin. How could there have been anything other than ‘overwhelming support’ for a relief road, when there was no other option on the table? The only overwhelming thing to come out of the consultation is that over 8000 residents did not vote for a relief road – because they could not. How can it be called a consultation, when in reality it was Hobson’s choice?
As it stands, Cullompton has less green infrastructure than any other Mid Devon Town – the Council has even included land outside the parish in its calculations for Cullompton, to make it look better than it really is. This road will reduce even further the limited amount of green infrastructure that is accessible on foot, in a town with a considerable obesity problem. How can that be a good thing?
The Council has said that its application for funding is supported by the Town Council, yet the Town Council has not yet endorsed it, to my knowledge. The Council has refused to disclose details of its application for public money to fund a relief road, in particular, how the relief road will open up development for even more housing. How will making the funding application public harm the bid for public money, as the Council claims? What does the Council not want the public to know?
That this road is being proposed to relieve congestion or to improve air quality is a complete fantasy, when the Council itself says that it will only achieve a 30% decrease, at most. Is it really worth spending £10m when all the relief road can hope to achieve is a temporary respite, until such time as thousands more houses are built and the problems are then worse than ever.
Mike Phillips – Cullompton Football Club - stated that in answer to your question 51 you say that the football club facilities would be affected to a lesser degree, in actual fact it is our belief that a whole senior side football pitch will be lost by the alignment which has been chosen. Your own playing fields strategy for MDDC acknowledges that there is pressure within the town for football facilities, football pitch facilities specifically, as the town is expanding in size. We would like to know how you are going to replicate our loss of a pitch as well as rendering the club house inaccessible from the new road.
Cllr John Berry – DCC Councillor - This road has been talked about for years and years and we haven’t got anywhere. I think the time has now come to look forward to the next generation after we’re gone. No road is perfect, no road is the answer to everything and this road perhaps is not 100% perfect, I’ll admit that, but we’ve got to look forward to taking some traffic away from Cullompton town centre. And in doing so we have also got to look forward what if we do that? What are the possibilities for future development? We all know the problems of traffic coming down Tiverton Road, I know I am deviating on the proposed road but it does all tie in. Both DCC and MDDC and Cullompton Town Council and the people of Cullompton are concerned with the traffic coming down Tiverton road. There is going to be a development North West and North East of Cullompton. I think it’s about time and I have made my voice known on this subject for several years and I know that people and shop owners are aware that due to the developments that are coming and if we consider the need for this road, Cullompton town centre and Fore Street could become a one-way system. I think this is something that we have all got to look at very seriously. We could have herringbone parking which would be advantageous to shops in Cullompton with a one way system. We’ve also got to look at air quality and town centre enhancement, we all want Cullompton to look better. The money which can come into Cullompton town centre is there but at the moment there is far too much traffic going through the centre. Economic development, not only for Cullompton, but for the whole area is needed. We’ve got to take all these points into consideration, not just say well all these objections against a relief road which I accept people have a total right to put their point forward as have the other side. I think Mr Chairman I have covered the important things that you have got to look at this morning at this Committee, economic development, air quality, town centre development and look forward to a one way system for Cullompton in the future when the developments take place and to get a lot of the traffic away from the centre of Cullompton.
Ruth Jones stated, I live on the site next to the road and when you do cut through it will cut my garden off, which I don’t mind, I can understand it but I am worried about the extra pollution that we will get, the air pollution and also the traffic noise. I appreciate you want to take the vehicles off the main street but don’t forget you’ve got residents down there that have been there donkeys years, they haven’t just arrived on the scene, they have been there a long time. I wanted to make the points as that road will go right beside the land there.
Sally Graham stated, we want better air quality in this town and I would ask everybody here how another road less than half a mile away, on the edge of a green facility, will do anything to improve that? The quality of life that these roads are affecting are very great, there’s a football club, a cricket club, all the things that Cullompton needs. Spending extra money relocating them is not going to help anyone. We have green spaces very minimally and those CCA fields are one of the few things we have. You talk about economic development and the need for more housing, I would ask everybody here how much the new developments are meeting local housing need? What you are doing is bringing outcomers into the area and creating more traffic problems. I would argue that your whole economic and development strategy is not based on meeting local need.
Richard Stephenson – Cullompton Cricket Club stated, firstly we have been well consulted with and I would like to thank everybody who has helped us on that as part of the potential road routes. We as a club would embrace the changes which are potentially proposed. As a club we are desperately short of space and we are aware the town continues to grow population wise; we desperately need a bigger facility. My question to you is, we have obviously had some really good consultation, we really need to understand timescale as a potentially affected club, the implications of a move for us are quite significant in that if we are moved, the ground has to be in a fit state to allow us to continue the level of cricket that we are now playing and there are rules and regulations relating to that so we need some comfort from the panel with regards to that. We also need a little bit more detail in terms of if we do get moved where are going because we really need to understand that. I fully understand everyone’s concerns about the road, the route that it could potentially take, our view as a club is that we recognise we are part of a much bigger project with the Garden Village as well. The second point I would like to make is we want to ensure that actually the decision of relocation is not just taken in isolation with regards to the current road route that we are looking at and debating. We would really like for consideration to be made of a wider project that the town faces because we appreciate that the location of us is absolutely critical to our future success and viability. We are really lucky we have a successfully growing club and we want that to continue not only for us but for the inhabitants of Cullompton now and going forward. So those are the two points we want to raise and get out on the table as early as we can because we don’t just want to move to a similar facility that we have, the only way that we can progress and make it better for everybody is that we have to have enhanced facilities. We need a two pitch facility and we need clubhouse design which allows us to be financially viable. I am putting that in the public domain as I need it to be on record.
Mark Hiscock stated, I live on the East side of the motorway, from the clapping it would appear that a majority of the people in the audience are against the bypass. However, living on the East side of the motorway it would be an enormous benefit for us. In the evening traffic, it can take us anything up to 25 minutes to travel half a mile to get to Junction 28 and the reason we get stopped at Junction 28 is all the traffic waiting to go from Cullompton. One car parked in Cullompton can cause half a mile tailback on the main road. The relief road will stop all that, it won’t stop the real problem with Junction 28 but it would definitely relieve it. I want that heard as well rather than all the anti-comments by people.
Ashely Hellier stated, I think the gentlemen before me made the point that a car parked in Cullompton can cause a half hour delay. Why can’t someone do something about it? People don’t know the Highway Code and don’t know the dangers of parking on blind corners and even double parking on the crossing which is common place in Cullompton. Nobody is interested and when will somebody do something about that?
The Chairman indicated that answers to questions would be received when the item was debated.