It's busier at weekends

PUBLISHED: 09:00 18 February 2009 | UPDATED: 23:03 15 June 2010

I am very puzzled and not a little disturbed by the Tesco planning application in Seaton. I have worked on traffic surveys for consultants producing transports assessments for planning applications for many years and many of these have been for large supe

I am very puzzled and not a little disturbed by the Tesco planning application in Seaton.I have worked on traffic surveys for consultants producing transports assessments for planning applications for many years and many of these have been for large supermarkets in small towns. One can say, therefore, that I have some insider knowledge.One of the first things I discovered about traffic surveys was that it involved working at weekends because that is the time that supermarkets are generally busiest. I also discovered that, unlike big cities and big towns, the roads of small market and seaside towns were also usually busiest on Saturdays. In such towns, traffic impact and parking problems are invariably most critical at weekends. To anyone living in towns like Seaton, this revelation can hardly be surprising, so imagine my shock to discover that Tesco had completely ignored weekends in their transport assessment. To me, this seemed very suspicious but, to make sure I was right, I and a couple of friends did a count at the Co-op roundabout on the Underfleet. On Friday, January 30, a total of 594 vehicles passed through the junction in the busiest hour (4-5pm). On Saturday, January 31, the equivalent figures were 661 vehicles between 10-11am, and 733 between 11-12am. In other words, Saturday was 23 per cent busier than Friday. If this is the difference in January, what is the difference in the holiday season, when people flock to the beach at weekends from places such as Chard and Axminster?Tesco is not incompetent and so I can only conclude that it is fully aware of the difference between weekdays and weekends (certainly, the consultants who did their Honiton study were) and simply do not want to spell out what conditions will be like in Seaton at weekends.Abigail Jones By email


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