On October 10th our executive sent the following open email/letter to Torbay Council and our MP, Anthony Mangnall.

Due to the urgency and seriousness of the content of this email I have copied in Anthony Mangnall, Steve Darling and our local councillors – we would welcome help from all sides please. We will also be publishing the content of this email onto our website and circulating to our members.

Inglewood Development Road Closures

Recent weeks have been full of rumours of an impending road closure on the road into Brixham. However there has been no communication of this from the council or developers. With many thanks to Karen Kennedy I have now found a document on Deeley Freed’s website with the following details:

  • From January 3rd until a ‘planned’ date of May 12th, Brixham Road will be CLOSED from Windy Corner to Lidl, except for a 2-week gap at Easter.
  • Beyond May 12th there will be ongoing work, with traffic management in place at times, and then a further week of road closure at the end of the works.
  • From mid May until the end of October they plan a further series of road works at the Long Road and Windy Corner junctions with traffic flowing under traffic management.

If you’ve not come across this (very well hidden) document yourself it is here. With a more detailed map here.

Closing this road is NOT FEASIBLE

I’m sure that you know that this is a busy road, and the main artery for traffic into Brixham. At peak times every day of the year there are queues in both directions around Windy Corner and at times the whole of this length of Brixham Road can be full of queuing traffic. It is not just Brixham residents who rely on the road: it is the main artery to Dartmouth; one of three main routes for school children to Churston Grammar School; the route through which our fish is transported. Our peninsula town relies on the tourists which visit us along the road. Commuters pass in both directions every day. The diversion proposed in the develop’s plan will not be able to cope with the volume of traffic.

In short, the closure of this road for even one week would be extremely difficult for our town. The route down towards Goodrington will be gridlocked for much of the day; emergency services will struggle to get through; tourists will turn around and abandon their plans to visit Brixham or Dartmouth. Children will be unable to get to school. Nurses will be unable to get between home and Torbay hospital. Staff will be unable to commute into our members’ businesses.

For it to be closed for a period of 4+ months, with further disruption throughout pretty much the entirety of 2023, will be catastrophic for our businesses and residents. We are not a wealthy town and after the years we have just endured, and the challenging financial times we face, we cannot afford an impact like this. 

I find three things astonishing:

  1. That any developer could think it is reasonable to close such a major road for an extended period – and seemingly that the council will allow them to do so.
  2. That any road works on such a critical road could be planned to continue for such an extended period. If a pipe has to be laid, I cannot imagine why it would take more than a week. 
  3. That the council and developers would not have done more to inform the public in this and have an open dialogue to engage the people who’s lives will be uprooted by the plans.

It’s important that you are aware that once these plans become widely known, local people will be furious. I can’t see a situation where the current plans will be tolerated by the people and businesses in our community.

What can be done from here?

We have a number of suggestions.

  1. The developers must find a schedule for the work to be completed with only minimal impact on this road, in particular 8-9:30am and 4:30-6pm every weekday. If this scheme cannot be delivered without closing this road for an extended period, we challenge its sanity and request that planning permission is removed.
  2. The developers and Torbay Council need to begin an open engagement process with the public. This would include: a. Publishing their traffic studies and the analysis they have done to show that the diversion they propose will be sufficient to keep traffic flowing at peak times;
    b.  Publishing the traffic contingency plans that have presumably been thought of, which would be put into place if it turns out that the road closure is not going to be feasible;
    c. Transparently and vigorously publicising the planned work and traffic plans;
    d.  Hosting a number of opportunities in our immediate local area where local businesses and residents can hear the plans, express their concerns, and engage directly with the developers.
  3. Future infrastructure projects of this type, which include a major impact on residents and business, are brought to the attention of businesses and local representative groups at an early stage. It is unacceptable that nobody is aware of what is going on. Dartmouth Town Council, Brixham Town Council, the Brixham Chamber of Commerce and many others should have all been involved by the developers throughout the process.

Yours sincerely
Executive, Brixham Chamber of Commerce