Traffic and Parking
Problems with traffic and parking have been raised to the Parish Council for many years and there has been an ongoing project to try and find a solution. On this page you can find links to the current consultation, a FAQ about the topic which explains Council's reasoning for this decision, information about how we intend to move forward with additional car parking and the report from the 2016 consultation.
I am one of the three DALC County Representatives and have taking over from Cllr Gaye Hill from Chagford on the West Devon Highways and Traffic Orders Committee (HATOC)
We held a meeting on the 5th November 2019 and as I now have the Minutes to reinforce my own notes I thought it time to send you a report of the meeting.
There were two main items on the Agenda. The first was a new Streetworks Permit Scheme that DCC will be introducing. This is a national initiative that the (then) Government highly recommended that County Councils take on board.
Any body (utility companies, County Highways, private companies etc) wanting to do repairs or work on the roads needs to apply for a permit (cost on a sliding scale) There will be discounts for more than one permit application.
The idea is that these will reduce delays and disruption, reduce environmental impacts and enable trench work for example to be done in co-operation with other companies who need to work in the same area.
The scheme is (supposedly) self financing, although County will be employing an additional 12 staff to deal with permit applications. This system will be starting in March 2020 initially with County works, including utilities, in order to test the new software and staffing before all such applications will be required by March 2021.
There is a detailed explanation of this new system on www.devon.gov.uk/workspermit-scheme.
The second item was brought by Sampford Courtenay Parish Council through Cllr. James McInnes, as a result of a public petition started by a resident. It concerned the lack of signage and any speed limit on the B3215, a straight stretch of road from Crediton to Okehampton which suddenly takes a sharp turn over the Railway bridge by Sampford Courtenay Station, with a blind junction immediately before and after the bridge. There have been many accidents here and near misses but no deaths. The straight stretch encourages drivers to speed up /overtake slower traffic and The Countryman Restaurant has also been the scene of accidents as drivers turn into and out of the premises. Residents are extremely concerned.
DCC Highways had been looking into this but neither Clr McInnes nor Cllr Michele Wilson of the Parish Council knew of this and it was agreed that…
a) Officers consult with the Parish Council and local Member about the details of the proposed Signage Scheme; and
b) further traffic speed monitoring be carried out prior to and following the introduction of new signage for report to a future meeting of this Committee.
The full detailed Minutes can be found here.
Items to be put on the next agenda should be sent to your local DCC Councillor,
I hope this is useful information!
Cllr Jan Goffey,
Okehampton Town Council
Feasibility Study regarding the provision of additional car parking in South Zeal
This report was commissioned by South Tawton Parish Council in January 2018, and written by the South Tawton Parish Council Car Park Working Group. It will be discussed by the Parish Council at the November 19th meeting of the Council (for all meeting dates, please see here) where the Council will discuss whether approve the report, and what actions to then take.
Appendices 1 and 2
Appendices 3 and 4
Statement Regarding TRO Proposal
The Parish Council is very grateful to everyone who took the time to respond to the consultation regarding parking restrictions. The Council is aware that there is a lot of discussion around the results and Council’s decision to recommend the revised TRO proposal to Devon County Council. This was not an easy decision to make but the following bullet points are the factors that were taken into consideration by the Council:
· The consultation was intended to inform Council’s decision by providing an idea of how the parish felt about the proposal and was not intended as a direct vote.
· The overall result showed 82 not in favour of the parking restrictions and 80 in favour of the restrictions. This is clearly a very close result (50.6% not in favour and 49.4% in favour).
· However, results from residents living in the affected areas showed 52 in favour and 46 not in favour. Council felt that this demonstrated a clear preference (53% in favour and 47% not in favour) amongst those residents who would be most affected by the restrictions.
· The public safety concerns previously raised by the emergency services and parishioners were also a significant factor.
· Council notes that respondents to the consultation are very appreciative of the issues involved however Council has taken expert advice from traffic technicians at Devon County Council regarding possible solutions and believes that this proposal is the best option available. The FAQ on Council’s website provides more information about different options that have been considered.
· Council formed a South Tawton Parish Council Car Park Working Group in January 2018 to put together a feasibility study regarding additional car parking in the village which will report back later this year. The Parish Council should not progress with a project of this size without fully investigating the implications.
The Parish Council has recommended the revised TRO Proposal to Devon County Council, which is the limit of the Parish Council’s involvement. The decision on whether or not to implement the proposal will now be taken by the West Devon Highways and Traffic Orders Committee. Council has continued to recommend that implementation of the lines is delayed until October 2018. We recommend that any further comment on this topic is directed towards Devon County Council.
The Parish Council has taken advice and is confident that the meeting held on 19th February was properly convened and conducted. Minutes of the Parish Council are intended as a record of decisions taken by Council, and comments from the public should not be included.
Councillor White, Vice-Chairman of the Council
Car Park Working Group
In October 2017 the Parish Council unanimously agreed to reopen discussion with the DNPA about additional car parking in the village. This has now been done and in line with the recommendations, the Parish Council has set up a working party of councillors to produce a feasibility study regarding the provision of additional car parking in the village.
The Parish Council is bound by responsibilities and duties towards the entire community. It is therefore imperative that the Council considers all possibilities and options before embarking on such a significant project with such high potential costs, both capital and long term.
Members of the public are not bound by those responsibilities and as such, are able and welcome to investigate alternative car parking themselves. However, this must be wholly independent of the Parish Council in the same way as any other independent organisation. Therefore, the Parish Council would like to be clear that the South Zeal Car Parks Committee is an independent organisation and is not linked to the Parish Council.
Councillor Andrew Sampson, Chairman, South Tawton Parish Council
Parking Restrictions - FAQ
Please note; the Parish Council is not authorised to put anything on the highways. Devon County Council makes decisions regarding Highways.
Why was there a consultation?
The Parish Council wanted trying to ascertain, as simply as possible, whether the community is either in favour or not in favour of the proposed Traffic Regulation Order. The Parish Council will then make their recommendation to the West Devon Highways and Traffic Order Committee. As detailed in the consultation and the FAQs below, this has been on the agenda for a long time and many options and opinions have been considered. The consultation was intended to inform a final conclusion on Parish Council’s stance on the single issue of parking restriction. Hence looking for yes or no responses only.
Where was the consultation advertised/distributed?
In the window of The Store, and on the Parish Council noticeboard inside The Store. It is on the noticeboards outside The Victory Hall, outside The Seven Stars, in the Ford Cross bus stop and The Croft bus stop. It is on our website and has been advertised on the Parish Council social media. We have asked the Okehampton Times to cover it, and have arranged for a notice in The Beacon. Copies were hand delivered to all the properties in the most affected areas and the consultation has been sent to the school for distribution to parents. This was agreed by Council as an appropriate level of advertisement.
Double yellow lines
Why double yellow lines?
After much discussion with traffic technicians at Devon County Council it was obvious to the Parish Council that this was the only option.
What about delivery vans or if I have lots of shopping to unload?
Loading and unloading is permitted on double yellow lines.
How much will this cost the Parish Council?
What will the lines look like?
The lines will be in the paler primrose yellow and thinner than standard.
What about residents parking instead?
This would not be permitted by Devon County Council in a village like South Zeal and is only used in areas where heavy commuter parking causes a problem (such as by hospitals and train stations). It would not prevent school parents from parking. It would require lines and street furniture throughout the village. Residents would have to apply and pay for a permit. Parking spaces would be restricted overall due to the minimum size of bay that would be required. Spaces would not include pinch points or junctions (so would displace vehicles).
What about white lined zones?
White lined zones such as in Chagford are not recommended. They would require white lining and street furniture throughout the village. They would restrict parking overall due to the minimum size of bay that would be required, meaning the space available is less flexible. Spaces marked out would not include pinch points or junctions (so would displace vehicles). There would be a significant cost to the Parish Council.
What about signage?
Signage on its own is unenforceable. There is existing ‘no parking’ signage at some of the locations, which is regularly ignored. In addition, parking in many of these locations is already an offence under The Highway Code, which is also being ignored.
What about street furniture or planters?
It is not possible to place planters, or similar, on the highway. There are no pavements big enough in South Zeal to accommodate a planter to deter pavement parking.
What about bollards?
The Parish Council did discuss using bollards to prevent pavement parking in one location. However, this would prevent vehicles from turning and might interfere with utilities in the pavement.
What about single yellow lines for limited times of the day?
This would require street furniture and times would have to be selected. Cars are regularly parked in all the locations marked, not only at a single time of day.
What about additional car parking?
The Parish Council has looked into additional parking at a number of sites. In October 2016, we met with the DNPA and the Recreation Ground Committee to discuss and agree the expansion of the Recreation Ground Car Park although at the time it was felt that the car park is rarely full so plans were put on hold.
The Parish Council met again with the DNPA in January 2018; it was made clear that this is very lengthy process and that there is a huge amount to consider to ensure that the Parish Council acts in the best interests of the entire community. To this end, the Council has set up a South Tawton Parish Council Car Park Working Group to carry out a feasibility study into this project. This will look at potential sites, liability issues, ways of managing a car park, ways of getting funding (both capital funding and for ongoing maintenance) and to ascertain the level of community need.
Why can’t people just use their driveways and garages?
The Parish Council strongly recommends that anyone who has off street parking uses it wherever possible. However, this cannot be enforced.
What about a one way system?
This wouldn’t make any difference to parking in a way that hinders through traffic. One way systems make traffic a lot faster, and Council is aware that many parishioners are already concerned about the speed of traffic through the parish without implementing a system to make cars faster.
What about a school bus or better bus service?
Buses are unable to go through the village due to parking.
What about the school?
The Parish Council recognises that a thriving school is important to our community. All communities near schools suffer similar problems with traffic. The Parish Council has no authority over the school.
Why have the limited waiting time bays outside The Store been proposed?
These were requested in order to benefit The Store by allowing people to make quick visits; without limited waiting bays, many cars are parked there for many hours which puts people off using the business.
What about a 20mph speed limit?
This has been requested multiple times over the years but the response has remained the same; Devon County Council is no longer creating 20mph zones so this is not possible.
Why is this being considered?
Requests from parishioners
Over many years the Parish Council has received numerous comments from parishioners, local businesses and the emergency services regarding the dangerous parking within the parish. It is the job of the Council to listen to the needs of all the parish.
What about the Fire Service?
The Station Manager at Okehampton Fire Station has attended meetings with the Parish Council to discuss concerns that a fire engine cannot always access all parts of the village with particular mention was given to Tawton Lane (School Lane). This is recorded in the minutes of April 2016 16/032 d. which can be seen below. When people are parking along Tawton Lane, or at the junction, the fire engine cannot get through. He also attended the Annual Parish Meeting in June 2017 where there was further discussion about parking problems in the village. In October 2017, the Station Manager confirmed that he is the only authority on the fire service in this area and that any other communication from the Fire Service is unauthorised. At this time he also confirmed that vehicles parked, at any time, by Tawton Lane prevent fire service access.
Decisions of the Parish Council
What about the 12 month delay on parking restrictions?
In October 2017 the Parish Council unanimously agreed to request that the proposed restrictions were put on hold for 12 months. The Parish Council made this request and has been liaising with Devon County Council and the West Devon HATOC group to ensure that, regardless of the outcome of the consultation and February’s meeting, no restrictions would be implemented in the parish until October 2018.
Why have the lines been amended?
In October 2017, the Parish Council unanimously agreed to recommend that the proposed restrictions are reviewed to facilitate an overall reduction in the proposed restrictions. The Parish Council has subsequently liaised with Devon County Council to produce these amended restrictions which are presented in the consultation. No further amendments can be made now without the process starting again from scratch.
In addition, Council would note that the clerk is an impartial employee of the Council who works just 8 hours a week. She carries out work as directed by the Parish Council and is entitled not to be harassed or bullied in the workplace. The Council has been very concerned to see some of the communication directed towards the clerk and requests that all parishioners communicate with the clerk in a way that is civil, tasteful and relevant.
a. Report from Mr J Donovan, Fire Service, regarding emergency access to the village
Mr J Donovan, Local Risk Manager, Fire Service, had attended the meeting to discuss concerns of the Fire Service relating to emergency access to the village. The main concern of the Fire Service is the pinch point location by St Mary’s Chapel and Tawton Lane. He explained that the Fire Service is entitled to forcibly remove vehicles if necessary. Councillor Crawford commented that vehicles removed by emergency services are not covered by insurance. Mr Donovan suggested that the Fire Service could carry out a leaflet drop in the area to raise awareness of the need for sensible parking. It was suggested that the Fire Service could work with the school to raise awareness as well, and that the Police could be involved to further enforce the issue. Mr Donovan will contact Mr N Oxton, Senior Traffic Technician, Devon County Council, to report the concerns of the Fire Service regarding South Zeal.
October 2017/091 k.
It was proposed by Councillor Sampson and seconded by Councillor White that Council reopen discussion with Dartmoor National Park Authority regarding a new car park in the top of the village and the expansion of the Recreation Ground car park. Unanimous decision. Regarding the parking restrictions proposal, it was proposed by Councillor Sampson and seconded by Councillor White that Council recommend to Devon County Council that the proposed restrictions are reviewed to facilitate an overall reduction in the proposed restrictions and that the proposed restrictions are put on hold for 12 months so that the situation can be monitored. Unanimous decision. The clerk was asked to contact the school to request conversation regarding parking problems in South Zeal. The clerk was also asked to clarify the position of the Fire Service with regards to parking problems in South Zeal.
Traffic and Parking Report
Please find opposite the traffic and parking report compiled by South Tawton Parish Council in March 2016 following the consultation that was carried out with all parishioners and visitors to the parish. Consultation leaflets were provided to school users, in the Stores, online and hand delivered to all properties in South Zeal.