Road safety fears in Payhembury

Local residents Tessa Campbell, Jim Baker and Bill Clack next to the damaged road, which has been cl

Local residents Tessa Campbell, Jim Baker and Bill Clack next to the damaged road, which has been closed since December 2012. - Credit: Archant

Residents call for action.

Serious safety concerns have been raised by residents in Payhembury who are calling for road repairs on a route to the A373 leading to Honiton.

The road between Uggerton Cross and the A373, which has been closed since December 2012 after Devon County Council were advised of an active badger sett in the area, was discussed during a meeting of Payhembury Parish Council earlier this month.

Residents have been told that it could have to wait at least a year before work is carried out.

Concerns were raised by local farmer Jim Baker, who said he was having to take his large agricultural machinery onto the main road as a result of the closure, which he would usually try to avoid, as well as negotiating dangerous turnings onto the roads.

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He also said that it was costing him more money in fuel to tend to his fields as he was having to use a two mile detour and asked if the road could be unmetalled. Devon county councillor Paul Diviani said that there were legal considerations involved in unmetalling the road and permission had to be obtained from magistrates, which could take time.

Further safety concerns were highlighted by race horse trainer Leslie Jefford. He said: “As a local employer and trainer of race horses, I have a responsibility for, not only, the safety of my staff, but also the safety and welfare of the horses.

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“This is severely compromised by having to take a string of horses along the main road for a longer period or by having to cross the main road in unsafe areas to be able to access the road ways by Hembury Fort.”

“With over 10 per cent of reported road traffic accidents in 2012 ending with the fatality or serious injury of either the rider or the equine (British Horse Society 2012), this is surely, an accident waiting to happen.”

The meeting heard that Devon County Council had been advised that the road would need strengthening. Local resident Tessa Campbell, who lives on the road, felt this would not stop the badgers and would be a ‘waste of money’ as they would find another route.

Councillor Paul Diviani said: “The one thing I will do is get out there with officers and try to sort it all. I will attempt to bring all the repairs forward as much as I possibly can.”

Payhembury Parish Council will be writing a letter to Devon County Council.

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