Renewed calls for Axminster relief road

Town faces gridlock when new homes are built, councillors have wanred.

BUILDING hundreds more homes in Axminster without a north-south bypass

will lead to traffic gridlock, Axminster councillors warned again this week.

They fear the extra houses – including more than 400 planned for Cloakham Lawns – will see the town centre grind to a halt.

Members renewed their calls for a comprehensive traffic management scheme after being given an update on East Devon Council’s Local Development Framework (LDF) by district councillor Mike Green and policy officer Matt Dickens.

Planning committee chairman Chris Scott expressed dismay that the long called for north-south relief road was not included in the planning blueprint.

Instead he said it contained “aspirational waffle”, with good intent, but with very little influence on what will happen to Axminster.

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Mr Green, a member of the LDF Panel, said they knew the northern bypass was top of Axminster’s list but he said it could not be financed.

“Even is all the houses built along there provided 106 money towards it, instead of affordable homes or play areas, we would still not be able to deliver it,” he said.

Jerry Walden said unless Axminster had a co-ordinated traffic management plan the town would come to a standstill.

“This is one of the most important things for quality of life – with or without a north south relief road,” he said.

Sue Spiller said when the houses were built at Cloakham even the smallest incident would see the road into town grind to a halt and she appealed to highways chiefs to listen to local people’s concerns.

But Mr Dickens said traffic experts had looked at the situation in Chard Road and decided not to object to the Cloakham development.

Andrew Moulding said the Axminster Community Enterprise Group (ACE) was currently trying to put together a traffic management plan for the town.

In the meantime he said they could press their MP to help. There might be a case that the current bypass, put in 22 years ago, was no longer adequate and that the Highways Agency should take a serious look at the long term sensible movement of traffic around Axminster.