Environment

Consultation on Okehampton town centre junctions

Photo of Okehampton Town Centre

Posted on: 8 October 2020

A public consultation is being launched by Devon County Council next week (Friday 16 October) to seek views on reducing traffic congestion in Okehampton town centre.

The County Council has been exploring a number of options to improve traffic flows, re-designing up to three key junctions which currently have traffic lights. These junctions are:

• Market Street with the B3260, Fore Street and George Street
• Mill Road with the B3260, East Street
• B3215, Barton Road with the B3260, Exeter Road

The historic arrangement of roads, combined with continued growth in Okehampton has created traffic bottlenecks, especially around the key town centre junctions, and this has led to longer journey times.

Without improvements to these junctions, further development allocated in the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan could increase traffic delays and pollution, and people may have difficulty accessing local services.

The first set of proposals would make Market Street and Mill Road junctions priority-free, removing the traffic lights and giving all approaching vehicles the same right across the junction, rather than anyone having right of way. Drivers instead rely on slow speeds, visual prompts and considerate behaviour. This would be supported with the installation of a new mini roundabout at the Barton Road junction.

The alternative option would again remove the existing traffic lights, with priority arrangements being introduced at each of the junctions.

Opportunities to enhance the pedestrian environment are also being explored, and feedback on pedestrian crossing locations is being sought through the consultation.

Photo of Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “We’re keen for people to give us their views on the proposed re-designs of these junctions. Traffic studies have shown that making changes to the current road layout, by removing traffic signals and introducing different priority arrangements, can release additional capacity and improve traffic flow through the centre of Okehampton. These improvements will support the local economy – enabling the market town to continue to fulfil its role as a regional centre to over 30,000 people in its rural catchment.”

Photo of Councillor Kevin Ball

Councillor Kevin Ball

Councillor Kevin Ball, Devon County Councillor for Okehampton Rural, said: “I’m really pleased this consultation is due to get underway – it’s probably the biggest opportunity in many years to improve the town centre. It gives residents the chance to comment on potential changes that can help the traffic flow through town. I would ask local people to please look at the whole consultation document when it’s released, as the proposed layout drawings will give a better idea of what’s being put forward.

“I have my personal preferred option but I think all of the options will improve the situation in town. This consultation is an opportunity for anyone who wishes to contribute to give their thoughts and we welcome any ideas we haven’t thought of. I hope all residents, whether they agree with the proposals or not, can engage positively through the consultation.”

A consultation webinar will be held at 6pm on Wednesday 21 October, providing people with the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback directly to Devon County Council officers and local County Councillor Kevin Ball. A further virtual ‘drop-in’ consultation event will be held between 5pm and 7pm on Thursday 5 November. Those wishing to attend either event should email transportplanning@devon.gov.uk for joining instructions.

The consultation continues until Sunday 15 November, and the feedback form can be completed online at devon.cc/okehamptontowncentre (from Friday 16 October).

Computers with internet access are available at all Devon libraries, including Okehampton Library. Alternatively, feedback forms can be emailed to: transportplanning@devon.gov.uk, or posted to: Transport Planning Team, Matford Offices, County Hall, Topsham Rd, Exeter, Devon, EX2 4QD

If you require more information, or a different format, please email: transportplanning@devon.gov.uk or write to the above address.

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