We were given an update from the developers of the Persimmon Homes estate on Wednesday 16th November. The developers presented us with some improvements to their plans, which they are pushing the council to sign off ASAP so they can start on their scheduled date of January 3rd. We welcome part of the news but still have major concerns.
1: Drainage section – good news.
The developers have made one significant step forwards since their plans were first put to us in October: the drainage works, at the southern end of the closed road section, have now been moved into an adjacent field. This may not significantly alter the time of the proposed road closure. However it will allow an alternative route via Hunters Tor Drive compared to the current planned diversions along Dartmouth Road. At this time they do not plan to open this road to general traffic, but it guarantees emergency services access to / from Brixham, and opens the opportunity for traffic to still be able to access Brixham in the event of an accident on Dartmouth Road.
2. Road raising & widening section – potential for improvements.
The second section of works requiring a road closure are nearer to White Rock Primary School, north of the new roundabout, where the road will be raised and widened. The plans are for this to take four months. Now that the drainage works have been removed from the critical path, any improvements to this section of work will reduce the length of any road closure. The developers floated the concept of doubling the number of work gangs and extending their working time. We believe that with pressure, Persimmon will be able to reduce the closure to two months.
3. Modelling of delays to journeys – major concerns still remain.
The developers stated that at peak times, delays will be in the region of 10 minutes with the new diversion. However they have not provided any evidence for this. We have requested an opportunity to go through this analysis with their engineer who has done the modelling but as yet the developers are not willing for us to see this. Unless they allow us to see in detail the models and input data used by their engineers, we take the view that this number cannot be relied upon and our fears of the town being gridlocked at peak times persist.
4. Other significant concerns remain
The proposed diversionary route uses Goodrington Road, a narrow, windy and steep road with houses along it. The impact for the residents of this road, their air quality, will be significant – the developers have not accounted for this. It is unclear whether this route is passable for HGVs and buses; if not, which route should they take in and out of Brixham? The developers also stated that they have had no dialogue whatsoever with our fishing industry; we find this incredible given the impact it could have on the transport of fresh fish in and out of the town.
5. The council’s position
Our biggest concern is that it seems that the council’s hands are tied, by the threat of legal action if they refuse permission. One document we have seen implies that in May this year the council did give outline permission for a scheme of work which included a lengthy closure of Brixham Road. We haven’t had a response from the council on this point.
In summary, this progress review from the developers has brought some improvements to the plan which we see as good news, but our concerns about the potential for major delays in and out of our town, and the impact this would have, remain and if anything they are greater than ever, as the council appears likely to approve the plans.
We will be updating members at our general meeting on Thursday 24th November (7-9pm at the Berry Head Hotel). If you would like to attend, please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org