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COLYTON: Council complains there’s no money in pot for road repairs

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

COLYTON parish councillors have complained that Devon County Council is not taking enough action on highways issues in the town due to budget constraints. At a recent Colyton Parish Council meeting, members said that they were constantly told that the county council did not have enough funds to repair and improve safety on roads, after a number of highways-related issues were raised by members of the public. Problems ranging from potholes and poor road surfaces to overgrown grass verges and dangerous parking were raised by members of the public attending the meeting, and in emails and letters received beforehand. Councillor John Hay said: “Devon County Council doesn’t seem willing to do anything. They say they don’t have any money to do anything but the list is getting longer, not shorter.” Reporting on a recent traffic group meeting with the county council, Councillor Caroline Collier added: “There’s not much to report really, that’s the only answer we get – there’s no money to do anything. I’m getting a bit fed up with it in a way because everybody pays their rates but we don’t seem to see any action, it’s a bit like banging your head against a brick wall.” Councillor Howard West said: “We have been told in the past they don’t have any money left in 2013/14 but we’re now in a new financial year. Are they saying they don’t have any money already?” Council chairman Andrew Parr reported that they had not been told there was no money available, but that the county had very little. Councillor Collier added: “We all appreciate there’s a big problem but it’s still got to be done.” Concerns were raised about the poor state of the road between Shute and Colyton, from Easy Bridge to Three Sycamores, with one resident of Shute saying it had actually stopped him from travelling into the town to shop, as he was concerned about causing further damaging his car. Councillors were particularly disappointed with this issue, as they said the road on the other side of their parish border in Shute had been repaired. FRUSTRATING County councillor Sara Randall-Johnson said she would discuss the issue with Councillor Andrew Moulding, district councillor for Axminster who was responsible for Shute. She added: “Please don’t think I’m taking this lightly because I’m not. Restricted budgets does make it very difficult though.” Councillor Ken Clifford replied: “It’s frustrating to see our near neighbours’ has been done and ours has not been done for four or five years.” Other concerns raised included the number of potholes at the Sidmouth Road and Queen Street junction, which one resident described as a “serious and dangerous situation”. Councillors complained that the county council often repaired one pothole but would leave others just metres away. Councillor Rodney Turner said: “To me that’s just money completely thrown away. It’s a false economy, common sense has got to come into play.” A letter was also received from St Andrew’s Square resident Edwina Vallance who complained that there had been several incidents over the past few years in which her listed cottage had been damaged by passing large trucks and farm vehicles. Mrs Vallance was concerned there was no weight restriction on the narrow road and “parking was beyond a joke”. She added: “It seems to be getting worse year on year, I really fear for my property if no action is taken.” Councillor Parr agreed that parking did cause trouble in the area and suggested that double yellow lines opposite the cottage would help resolve the issue. Speaking at the meeting, Mrs Vallance continued: “I just wanted to re-emphasise that I do now have considerable damage to my roof. I’m not in a position to get it all re-roofed so it’ a constant patching job. It’s just awful, since October I have had six repairs. “It’s a listed building, it’s supposed to be a conservation area, how can I look after this building without any help from the council? “They also park right outside, I sometimes struggle to get out of my front door.” It was agreed that Colyton Parish Council would write to Devon County Council requesting double yellow lines in St Andrew’s Square. Councillor Randall-Johnson reported that the town’s request for dropped kerbs and a crossing in Market Place were moving forward, with a safety audit currently being carried out. However, she said that it was unlikely the crossing would be between the two bus stops as requested, but near the library instead.


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