County Council pledges to reconnect the A379

Posted on: 7 March 2018

Devon County Council Leader John Hart has pledged that the A379 at Slapton “has to re-open”.

Councillor Hart and Councillor Stuart Hughes, Cabinet Member for Highway Management, visited Slapton yesterday (Tuesday 6 March) to see the damage caused by Storm Emma. Following the visit, Councillor Hart confirmed that the County Council is working as quickly as possible to establish how the route can be reconnected and is seeking what emergency support central Government may be able to offer.

Councillor John Hart

Councillor Hart said: “It’s early days and we need a bit of time to work out what is practical and what it will cost, but I can reassure people that the road has to re-open, and hopefully we can have a road that will last for some time.

“Having seen it for myself it’s worse than I thought, especially in the areas that have disintegrated over 500 yards which have been undercut and are dangerous. We want those overhanging sections removed as soon as possible.

“The fact that we already have teams working to clear shingle from the road shows how important we think it is, but a lot more work is going to be needed and we have a team of engineers drawing up what can be done so that we have some guidance on costs.”

Clearance of shingle from the Slapton junction to Torcross is making good progress and engineers have carried out further inspections while updating Devon County and South Hams councillors on the situation. The District Council car parks at Slapton have also sustained significant damage.

Additional diggers will be on site today (Wednesday 7 March) to remove overhanging sections of the road between Sands Road and Strete Gate.

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes said: “Slapton really bore the brunt of Storm Emma and it’s devastating to see what has happened here. We know how important this route is for local people and also for the local economy with the amount of visitors that come here. Our teams are doing their best to clear the shingle as quickly as possible and then we can start looking at options.”

Devon County Council has a team working up designs and costs to reconnect the route while giving careful consideration to the environmental sensitivity and designation of the area.

The co-operation and agreement of affected landowners will be vital to the delivery of any scheme. The County Council is working alongside its partners from the Slapton Line Partnership, which includes South Hams District Council, Environment Agency, Natural England, South Devon AONB, the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, and the Field Studies Council at Slapton Ley.

Councillor Julian Brazil, local County Councillor for Kingsbridge, and Councillor Richard Foss, Ward Member for Allington and Strete at South Hams District Councillor, also met on site with Councillor Hart.

Councillor Julian Brazil

Councillor Julian Brazil said: “I’m delighted with Councillor John Hart’s positive response. Now we need to get central government to put its money where its mouth is and fund transport infrastructure in Devon. Any excuses will not be acceptable.”

Councillor Richard Foss said: “Considering the road is vitally important to our tourist industry and is worth at least £5 million to the local economy, and that it’s a main arterial route used by a lot of local people, it is my intention to press that the road is reinstated a soon as possible. Let’s not forget, that the South West Coastal Path runs along this route too.”

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