Axminster traffic chaos ‘must not be repeated’

PUBLISHED: 09:13 29 August 2013 | UPDATED: 09:13 29 August 2013

The first attempt to carry out work at Trinity House ended in near disaster when a lorry brought down scaffolding so the road outside was closed  when the job restarted - resulting in  traffic chaos. Photo by Chris Carson

The first attempt to carry out work at Trinity House ended in near disaster when a lorry brought down scaffolding so the road outside was closed when the job restarted - resulting in traffic chaos. Photo by Chris Carson

Archant

Town councillors say road diversions did not work and were in place far too long

A temporary one-way system which brought traffic chaos to Axminster must never be repeated.

That is the view of angry local councillors who say three weeks of town centre diversions for building repairs was totally unacceptable.

A one-way route was implemented after scaffolding was put up outside the Trinity House Home-in-Style store for work to its frontage. The road outside was closed and traffic heading in the Chard direction was sent via Stoney Lane – which became one-way.

But mayor Jeremy Walden said many drivers had ignored the temporary ‘no entry’ signs, around 12 of which had even been stolen.

He said their actions had been ‘pathetic and dangerous’.

“I found signs taken down and put them up again,” he said. “Police also put up tape and that was ripped down.

“The behaviour of some people has been nothing short of criminal.”

Councillor Paul Hayward queried the length of time the road outside Trinity House needed to be closed.

He said at times just two men had been working on the scaffolding which could have taken many more.

“It was ridiculous – they should have thrown men at it,” he said.

Cllr John Jeffery said on one Saturday – which had been a lovely day – no work had gone on at all.

It had affected trade because people were saying ‘it’s no good coming to Axminster’.

He said he had asked the Trinity House manager to raise the matter with the shop’s owners – Fields of Sidmouth.

“The answer was that this was done through the insurance company and it was their assessment as to how long it would take,” he said.

The council agreed to take up the matter with Trinity House and the county council highways department, which authorised the temporary one-way system.

A spokeswoman for Fields told the Herald: “Fields of Sidmouth Ltd is unable to comment on reported criticism by certain members of Axminster Town Council, at their recent meeting, regarding the recent road closure outside our premises TH Home in Style, since we have not had sight of the minutes, nor received any official communication.

“However, we would like to state that it is not in the financial interest of ourselves, the contractors, the other insured party, nor the wider Axminster community, to prolong the road closure for more than is absolutely necessary.”


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