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Village being “plundered” to pay for Exeter’s roadworks

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: May 28, 2014

Devon County Council is planning to widen Bridge Road to provide two continuous outbound lanes from Countess Wear to the Matford roundabout

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A VILLAGE is being “plundered” to pay for roadworks which benefit others, according to a local councillor.

Alan Connett, county councillor for Exminster, says the village struggles with daily traffic problems while more than £1m given by developers in Exminster is being used to widen and improve the busy Bridge Road in Exeter.

Cllr Connett said not one penny of the cost will come from the new 2,500 houses planned around the Devon Hotel, near Marsh Barton, although widening Bridge Road is an essential requirement to allow the 2,500 home estate to go ahead.

He said: “Exminster has traffic headaches daily, such as congestion in the village centre, bottlenecks getting onto the by-pass and the need in some places for pavements.

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“Devon County Council snapped up over £1m from the developers building 300 houses at Milbury Farm in Exminster, but this money could have been used in the village. Instead its going on improving Bridge Road, running up to the Countess Wear roundabout.”

He said it has now been revealed that the developers who will build the 2,500 houses around the Devon Hotel will not pay towards the Bridge Road improvements.

A document published by Teignbridge District Council consulting on the way the estate will be developed says there is no need for the development to contribute to improving Bridge Road because the work is already fully funded.

Cllr Connett said: “Residents in Exminster will be amazed by this. It’s pretty clear isn’t it, over £1m has effectively been plundered from the village for Bridge Road to be improved and yet the massive new estate of 2,500 houses will not pay a penny towards this key road, leading into Exeter.”

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “The Bridge Road scheme is fully funded so there is no need for further contributions.

“Developer contributions amounting to £5.5m have been secured from development (Newcourt, Milbury Farm and Bishops Court) with £3.5m major scheme funding provisionally having been allocated by the Heart of the South West Local Transport Board.

“The county council has also used £500,000 of Regional Growth Fund money and Local Transport Plan funding to progress the design of the scheme which is scheduled to start in summer 2015.”

He added: “Traffic congestion on Bridge Road in the evening peaks results in queuing on Topsham Road and Rydon Lane, which are key routes home for significant volumes of commuters, including many people living in Exminster.

“The Bridge Road scheme aims to smooth the flow of outbound traffic to improve journey times, which will benefit local residents.”

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  • whinger62  |  May 28 2014, 1:55PM

    I thought the bridge was a listed structure