Environment

Public consultation on Starcross and Mamhead road improvements

Posted on: 9 January 2020

A public consultation is being held by Devon County Council on proposed improvements to the A379 at Starcross and the Mamhead road from Starcross to the A380.

People are being asked for their views on a number of upgrades for the section of the A379 through Starcross, which is a well-known pinch-point that affects vehicles and pedestrians.

While little can be done to improve traffic flow, the consultation is looking at proposals to narrow the road width in order to improve footpaths through Starcross. If supported, the narrowing would be trialled and monitored prior to making any permanent changes.

Other proposals on which people are being asked to comment include amendments to on-street parking arrangements along the Starcross stretch of the A379, changes to the northbound bus stop by Bonhay Road and the restriction of right turns out of New Road.

A number of enhancements are also suggested to improve the C-class Mamhead Road from New Road to the A380. The existing route is narrow due to environmental constraints and occasionally it is blocked by large vehicles which are unable to pass, leading to long delays.

Given the close proximity of the A379 Starcross and Mamhead road, the proposals are being brought forward together in a single consultation.

Information on the scheme proposals and a consultation questionnaire will be available online at https://www.devon.gov.uk/haveyoursay/ from Wednesday 15 January until Wednesday 5 February.

The proposals will also be on show at Starcross Pavilions on Wednesday 15 January from 2:30pm-7:30pm, when officers from Devon County Council will be on hand to answer any questions.

Photo of Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “This is an opportunity for people to have their say on these improvement options for Starcross and the Mamhead route, and we’re keen to hear people’s feedback. The responses from the consultation will help to inform a preferred scheme option.”

Photo of Councillor Alan Connett

Councillor Alan Connett

Councillor Alan Connett, Devon County Councillor for the Exminster and Haldon division, said: “Improvements to this stretch of the A379 at Starcross are very much needed and I am pleased that proposals to improve well known pinch points at Starcross and Mamhead Hill are now being consulted upon.

“The instances of the Mamhead route being blocked by large vehicles are well known for causing problems and delays locally. Devon County Council has worked up an enhancement which responds to the concerns raised locally. This route is widely used by local residents and the feedback to this consultation will be important in shaping any improvements.

“The problems for vehicles in Starcross are well known, but the footway facilities that residents need to get to the local shops and services are also in need of improvement. The proposals have been developed through discussion with the Parish Council and I welcome the chance for wider consultation with residents of Starcross on this and the other enhancements.”

The County Council intends to submit the schemes for funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) Local Pinch Point fund.

10 comments on “Public consultation on Starcross and Mamhead road improvements

  1. Christine Taylor says:

    Have you taken into consideration the Spar shop before you enter Starcross? The delivery van and lorries park very close to the shop to unload the deliveries and with the proposed narrowing and new parking spaces the deliveries may cause the road to be impassable. They aren’t going to stop parking there to unload, their movement pattern needs to be considered as part of this design to ensure they don’t cause the road to be blocked completely when they are unloading the deliveries.

  2. Megan Debenham says:

    There are a couple of questions we need to ask in looking at the road improvement scheme in Starcross. Firstly, is it more important to ensure that traffic can flow smoothly through Starcross with no delays, or is it more important to reduce speeding through the village? Secondly, where lies the greatest risk of injury in the present situation – to motorists in their vehicles, or to pedestrians on the very narrow pavements?

    At present it is virtually impossible for an adult with a young child in hand to walk side by side on the pavement without being at risk of being hit by a wing mirror. This to me is far less acceptable than that there should be a short delay in cars getting through the village.

    Last year I spent 10 -15 minutes every evening between 5.30 and 6.30 from the beginning of June until the end of September watering planters on the station platform. This gave a good opportunity to get an idea of peak time traffic flow through Starcross. With the notable exception of one Friday evening at the start of the school holidays, traffic was rarely held up for more than a couple of minutes waiting to get past the pinch point. Local drivers on a regular commute are aware of the Courtney pinch point and the narrows just South of it, and the need for courtesy in giving way and allowing oncoming traffic through. The problem arises on Saturday mornings during the school holidays when drivers of larger vehicles (dormobiles, caravans, 4x4s) who are not familiar with the road do not realise that it is too narrow for two such vehicles to pass and get stuck. The proposed scheme, by narrowing the carriageway and making it obvious that two vehicles cannot pass, will help drivers to realise they have to give way. The proposed changes South of SFCC will also make it more obvious to drivers that they are entering a residential and congested area and need to slow down.

    In the interests of pedestrian safety and slowing down traffic through Starcross, I support this scheme.

  3. Louise Barnes says:

    Further to my earlier comments and recent face to face public consultations in Starcross, there does seem to be considerable concern within the locality about the increased number of heavy goods vehicles using the Mamhead hill. The proposals as they stand do not seem to offer any real solution to this problem. Indeed, increasing visibility by cutting back the trees is merely likely to increase speed. Natural breaks on speed are often a good thing on roads that are not built for a safe fast flow of traffic. The problem seems very much due to an overall increased use of traffic, especially of heavy goods vehicles. Perhaps this would be better addressed by more imaginative solutions that look up stream… and keep the HGVs on roads which they are designed for (motorways, dual carriage ways). Taking the model of Park and Ride, perhaps the council should look at providing hubs on major link roads where loads can be broken down in to more appropriately sized delivery vehicles. This may not generate more traffic of lighter transport vehicles as many heavier vehicles appear half full. Also, as we look to move to a more sustainable future, I would suspect that smaller delivery vans are more likely to go electric than HGVs and delivery hubs could be future proofed with electric fuelling points. Of course there will be costs in such a project, but it may also generate jobs and long term could be the most sustainable option that could protect our environment for all the community and future generations. Also, another example of alternative solutions might be as practiced else where on the continent to no economic detriment, restrictions could easily be placed on times and routes for HGVs (as in France).
    Finally, could the local bus company be asked to switch from heavily polluting double decker buses to single level buses?
    Thank you

  4. Denise Reeves says:

    Councillors Stuart Hall and Alan Connett say there are keen to hear people’s views, but I can assure them that they will not hear the many, diverse opinions and suggestions expressed at the consultation event this evening, as the staff there didn’t bother to record them. They seemed completely unbothered too when I pointed out that there were no more feedback forms available.

    I think decisions about Starcross should be left to people who live in the village and are directly affected. I can see that widening the pavements would help lots of people, but overall the proposals seem unambitious. I asked whether the opportunity had been taken to consider cycling routes but was met with disinterest.

    The proposals for the Mamhead road are utterly insane. This C road is totally unsuitable for large, heavy vehicles; I frequently encounter them, stuck or trying to manoeuvre with great difficulty. I feel sorry for the drivers – they only find out that the road is virtually impassable for them when it is too late. Improving a few odd patches won’t help – the whole road, with its steep slopes, sharp bends, absence of lighting and free-roaming wildlife is hopeless for them. And there are plenty of alternatives!!

  5. Stephanie Clarke says:

    I think the installation of a traffic light system at the Courtenay pillars, similar to the South town system which seems to work really well, would solve the pinch point problems at this location. Perhaps this could be trialled initially to monitor results.
    Regarding the Mamhead Road / Jackdaw Hill I am totally against upgrading this road from a Class C. This road is already far too busy with HGV’s and caravans that travel at dangerously high speeds for the road, and are often too large to pass each other when they meet. Rather than reducing congestion, widening this road will simply encourage more HGV’s and large vehicles to use the route, resulting in more traffic on the road and in the surrounding villages.
    Instead, introducing weight restrictions that are enforced, is what is required. The road is regularly used by horse riders and cyclists, not to mention deer and other animals crossing. There are crossing points for horse riders to well used byways, with poor visibility. Widening the road, which will result in more vehicles and greater speed is going to put these vulnerable users at greater risk, on what is already a dangerous road.

  6. Andriani Mouzouris says:

    I cannot comment on Starcross.

    With regards to the the traffic flow towards Mamhead and up the hill, at present it is already a busy road with zero consideration to speed or size of vehicle and in particular caravans and trucks. It is already a dangerous road shared by horses, deer and cyclists. Surely it would be better to put in place size restriction barriers for vehicles such as caravans and the trucks that drive up and down at breakneck speed. The road should be made smaller not wider with restrictions on heavy vehicles before there are more accidents and death. Farm animals regularly cross it and there are walkers and joggers and cyclists using the road every day.

  7. Jonathan Sell says:

    I would like to see a traffic light system at the Courtenay pillars similar to the Southtown system which seems to work well,in addition I think a weight restriction on the Mamhead hill road,or Jack Daw Hill, would be the best way to reduce heavy traffic spoiling this stretch of beautiful road,I would not be in favour of ‘upgrades’ to this road which would encourage more use by commercial vehicles.

  8. Louise Barnes says:

    Road narrowing through Starcross and Kenton with greater priority given to pedestrians and other road users would be excellent. However, I am deeply concerned about any proposals that might be buried in this initial idea that might encourage further use of the class c Mamhead hill route by more heavy goods vehicles, such as the widening of that road. More heavy goods vehicles on that route will bring more HGVs in to the villages surrounding it. Furthermore, the Mamhead hill is part of a very beautiful and up until recently, a relatively unspoilt area of countryside. Haldon is something of “an accidental haven” for wildlife and humans alike. At a time when everyone seems to have become more aware of the importance of our natural world I would like to ask for alternative solutions to be sought. Look “up stream” to the origin of the problem. Road widening as a strategy has been shown over and over again not to reduce traffic congestion but rather acts to increase the number of vehicles on the road, creating further, often irreversible environmental devastation and greater problems for future generations. Thank you.

  9. Jo says:

    I disagree that “little can be done to improve traffic flow” at the Courtenay Pillars. Stopping drivers from waiting at the pillars (they should give way further back), and traffic lights (perhaps temporary), should be trialled.

  10. Kim Rains says:

    It would be great if the pavement along the A379 going through Kenton could be widened. Currently it is impossible for wheelchair or double buggy to access this pavement. Pedestrians are at risk walking along it due to the narrowness is the path and speed of traffic.
    Thank you

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