Heavitree and Whipton community thanked for consultation response

People in Heavitree and Whipton have been thanked for taking part in a public consultation on options to create quieter and safer residential roads in their community in Exeter.

Around 1,400 people took part in the second phase of the “Exeter Streets” consultation held throughout September and October last year.

The two rounds of consultation have identified key issues affecting streets in Heavitree and Whipton:

• Traffic has a negative effect on the attractiveness of the area;
• Walking and cycling is not given priority over cars and other traffic;
• Parking significantly contributes to pollution.

In this latest consultation, proposals to reduce traffic speeds in the Sweetbrier Lane and Whipton Lane area nearest Hamlin lane and the roundabout were well received. Plans to widen the existing chicane in Sweetbrier Lane (between Hamlin Lane and the roundabout), install raised crossings at Sweetbrier Lane roundabout, and introduce a priority crossing across Georges Close and raised crossing on Whipton Lane all received majority support.

Four options were also put forward, proposing a mixture of “filters” which allow pedestrians, cyclists and buses to pass through the area, with other vehicular traffic limited to certain routes to create quieter streets for active travel. These proposals aim to create a more pleasant environment for active travel and public transport by removing through traffic from residential areas.

Three of the options to introduce traffic calming, including point closures, at different locations on north to south routes and east to west routes through Heavitree and Whipton were not supported by the majority of respondents.

However, opinions were more evenly split on a fourth option which put forward a combination of the other proposals with 53% disagreeing with the plans, 44% agreeing and 3% neutral. Comments on these proposals suggested a number of changes, including moving a proposed filter at Hamlin Lane further north and retaining access to Heavitree Fore Street from the Chard Road and Sweetbrier Lane area.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management said:

“Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to the consultation and provide us with their feedback. The two rounds of consultation have shown that people feel that traffic does impact on their local neighbourhood. There was positive support for plans to reduce speeds in Sweetbrier Lane and Whipton Lane but no overwhelming backing for some of the other options. The Exeter HATOC will now carefully consider the responses to the consultation to find a way forward which balances the needs of all residents in the area.”

Councillor Danny Barnes, County Councillor for Heavitree and Whipton Barton, said:

“Thank you to the huge number of residents who responded to both phases of the consultation. It is clear that something needs to be done about levels of traffic moving through these residential areas, and to make these streets safer and cleaner for local people. Option four for a low-traffic neighbourhood was the most supported option of the choices that were put forward. I look forward to a further discussion on how we can best progress this really important scheme at a meeting of the highways committee in the early summer.”

Councillor Su Aves, County Councillor for St Sidwells and St James, said:

“I am really pleased that so many people have responded to the consultations and that over 73% of them live within the area of Heavitree and Whipton. It is so important that local residents have given their opinions on what they think about the proposals. In the summer more decisions will be made at the Exeter highways meeting over how to implement travel improvements for the area with the knowledge of local opinion. The aim is to make the area a more enjoyable place to live and work, and improve options for safer travel for all residents.”

The results of the consultation will be discussed at a future meeting of the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee to decide what happens next.

A separate consultation will also be held on the existing traffic restrictions on Chard Road.

For more information visit devon.cc/exeterstreets

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