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Saturday, September 20, 2014
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OTTERY: Bus linking Skypark with East Devon could cost £100k a year
Wednesday, 19 March 2014
Senior officials at Devon County Council have confirmed the No. 4 bus service, which links Ottery St Mary with Exeter, Cranbrook, Honiton and Axminster, would not be permitted to divert to SkyPark, and a new, separate service via the site could cost as much as £100,000 a year to operate.
East Devon District Councillor for the Ottery St Mary Town ward Roger Giles pursued county council transport officials after concerns were raised about SkyPark’s accessibility, following confirmation of EDDC’s plans to relocate to the site.
Dave Black, Head of Planning and Transportation at Devon County Council, told Councillor Giles: “Whilst the No. 4 service has capacity in terms of passenger numbers, it currently does not have any time available for diversions. It is intended that this service would therefore serve SkyPark via bus stops on the old A30 near the SkyPark entrance.
“Looking to the future, the No. 4 service would not divert through SkyPark for the foreseeable future. A physical route through the site will not be completed for some years and, due to lack of timetable slack, an additional bus would be required at a cost of around £100,000 a year to allow diversion into SkyPark.
“Negotiations have been ongoing with Science Park and SkyPark concerning contributions towards bus services. It is expected that these contributions would enable the funding of a new service between Cranbrook and Exeter, routing through SkyPark and Science Park, which would supplement the existing 30-minute frequency No. 4 service.”
Concerns have been expressed that East Devon residents and EDDC staff would be faced with difficulties following the move to SkyPark because of its peripheral location within the district and lack of a direct bus service.
And Councillor Giles said he had previously been given assurances that the service would be diverted to provide access to SkyPark.
Councillor Giles said he had “great concern” that even if a “difficult and expensive” bus service could be introduced, it would cater for residents in Cranbrook and Exeter only, leaving people in Ottery St Mary and elsewhere in East Devon without a direct bus service to SkyPark.
He said: “Mr Black demonstrates that it will be difficult and expensive to achieve a service into SkyPark at all. But the other great concern I have is that if a direct bus service to SkyPark is achieved, it will only provide a service for Cranbrook and Exeter residents – there would be no direct bus service for people living in the rest of East Devon.”
He added: “By relocating from Sidmouth to SkyPark on the edge of Exeter, EDDC will damage the economy of Sidmouth, and damage the economy of East Devon as a whole. East Devon’s loss will be Exeter’s gain.”
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