Dowell Street ‘like a tank track’

16:43 15 March 2012

Traffic jam

Traffic jam

Archant

Traffic problem is getting worse, says resident

Dowell Street is in an historic part of Honiton; it boasts five historical Blue Plaques in an area of 100 yards - more than anywhere in Honiton. Yet it is the most neglected road in Honiton.

The street, stretching from Victoria Terrace to the traffic lights, where it meets the High Street, has not been resurfaced for 15 years, resulting in potholes. It is nothing short of a tank track.

The result is that HGVs using this part of Dowell Street come crashing through, causing noise and air pollution, as well as vibrating our properties - all this at unsociable hours in the morning and late at night.

The situation is getting worse as more HGVs are using Dowell Street as a short cut to go to and from the M5.

As well as HGVs, we have a problem with cars in Dowell Street.

Honiton has five main car parks, one in St Michael’s Ward, New Street, and four in St Paul’s Ward - the cattle market, Dowell Street, Lace Walk long stay and Lace Walk short stay - as well as parking at the community college and sports centre. All but the one in New Street have just one exit and that is Dowell Street.

Ninety-eight per cent of these cars turn left.

On a daily basis, hundreds of vehicles pass into the narrow part of Dowell Street with their engines ticking over just a metre away from residential properties.

District and county councils are responsible for the air quality and have to conform with UK and EU regulations.

In 2011, Dowell Street, Exeter Road and High Street were below the standard and were designated as Air Quality Management Areas, because of the high presence of nitrogen dioxide.

Councils are legally bound to improve the air quality, Bad air quality does affect people with respiratory conditions, such as asthma or emphysema.

East Devon District Council environmental health officer John Smith in January 2011 sent an eight-page Have Your Say Questionnaire, but not one mention of the worst-polluted road in Honiton - Dowell Street.

It is now 15 months and the situation is getting worse. To build a community centre, or any development, in Dowell Street would only worsen the quality of life for those who live in Dowell Street.

Under Part IV of the Environmental Act 1995, a site that fails to meet the standard is said to be an Area of Exceedance.

East Devon District Council states that they will take positive action to ensure that new developments do not make the air quality worse. The only way to achieve this would be to restrict HGVs by enforcing a weight limit and introduce a time zone, 8am to 10pm.

Priority must be given to building a spur road connecting the A373 to the A30 so vehicles can leave Honiton without the need to use Dowell Street.

District and county councillors, along with Honiton town councillors, should make a point of observing the noise we have to put up with in the early morning, from 5am onwards.

Ray Griffin

Dowell Street resident

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