An urgent plea to National Highways, Dorset Council and Barratt / Vistry as the developers of Foundry Lea
Concerning Miles Cross Roundabout Construction Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) and the Foundry Lea CTMP –
ADVEARSE has had communications over several years on this with National Highways.
Miles Cross Junction has long been a source of concern as evidenced by the long standing A35 working group which included the former MP and David Tett as a local councillor. This concern predates any additional construction traffic and is based on accident records and near misses. It is essential for those who are to take the decisions on the Vearse Farm development drive it to actually understand the dangers. Those who are not used to using the junction, get confused as to whether the right of way is with those waiting to turn right off the A35 or for those waiting in West Road to turn right onto the A35. Hesitation often occurs and this is compounded when the car turning into West Road sees a car speeding up the slip road off the East bound A35. Factor in busy times and frustration or nervousness and it feels like a black spot.
At present the planning conditions state that no occupation is possible until the roundabout is completed but construction can begin using an access road off the B3162 West Road. The CTMP for FL talks of 40/50 HGVs construction lorries per day plus 100 lighter vehicles. This amounts to 300 total journeys.
There are plenty of examples in the country – a good example being Crewe in Cheshire – where the roundabouts are installed before any development work commences. More locally, one is being installed in Chippenham prior to development commencing.
No CTMP for Miles Cross has been seen as yet. A CTMP for FL has been produced for Barratt and Vistry by GHPC. Dorset Council has indicated there is no formal right of consultation on this document or the discharge of Condition 20 in the OPP to which this relates, although the developers have indicated they are open to consultation.
We recommend that the planning condition related to this be revisited and urge
- that the roundabout be constructed before any construction traffic is allowed on site.
- That if this is not possible , no construction traffic approaching on the A35 from the east should be allowed to turn right into West Road
- That the CTMP for Miles Cross and that for the Foundry Lea site should be jointly prepared so there is a clear analysis of the risks of running both together .
Our key points
- Why does the FL construction traffic mean that the Roundabout should be completed before any construction begins on site? This is because of the dangers to road safety. A heavily laden brick lorry wishing to turn right off the A35 from the starting from a stop position with the limited visibility of traffic coming from the Chideock direction will be lucky to get across in time. National Highways spokesman has explained that the two schemes can work together for reasons of ‘proportionality and viability ‘. We commented to him that if by the latter he means Barratt need to sell houses to pay for the roundabout that is putting commercial gain above public safety and we would suggest that Barratt have plenty of reserves to pay for the roundabout.
2.There is no safe time in the day . Much of the discussion has centred on holiday traffic and the need to have limits on times when construction traffic can approach. We would argue that it is even more dangerous when the road is quiet and traffic, which has been slowed in Chideock, speeds down towards Miles Cross. The latest fatality took place at about 5.30 am! It should also be noted that the ‘holiday period ‘is no longer confined to the 6-week school holiday.
3.Both CTMPs should specify – No Right turn off A35 for construction traffic. In the early stages of the development at Vearse Farm there was talk that construction vehicles coming from the east (Crown Roundabout) would not be allowed to turn right into West Road. This would require the construction traffic to go to the Charmouth roundabout before turning and returning. The CTMP for FL is very vague on this and the matter needs a thorough investigation and a clear statement issued.
- Would temporary traffic lights help? We think not. This is at first glance a good suggestion and ,of course, our priority must be to provide safe driving conditions. In that sense, we would support it if it was the only option left.
However, when traffic lights were installed at Broomhills the National Highways insisted that there would be no right turn across the lights. Their argument will have been on safety grounds. We would assume they would object to a right turn at Miles Cross on the same basis. We would be very disappointed if we are prevented from turning right at Broomhills in a saloon car, but multimillion Barratt/ Vistry is allowed to have 50 HGVs a day turn right at Miles Cross.
Secondly, the temporary lights would presumably involve a filter system. As we know from the Bridport Town Hall lights, this means that the traffic coming from the direction without the filter has less time to negotiate the lights and the queue is that much longer. Imagine the queue back through Chideock over the summer.
Our other concern with the temporary traffic lights is that, should they appear to be working OK, the roundabout will never be built. This is the expectation of many people anyway who fear Dorset Council has little leverage over the developers.
- Informing the Bridport Public It is interesting to note that local people are assuming that the roundabout will be completed first. We have yet to meet a single person who agrees that it is possible to do other.
- Enforcing the CTMP – Dorset Council has responsibility for monitoring the CTMP – Who thinks Dorset will have the resources to do this? We are in danger of seeing restrictions on construction traffic repeatedly ignored.
We would like to see in writing the sanctions for breaking the CTMP.
Conclusion – We as a group have warned about this issue for many years . As we get nearer to the actual start of work it is urgent that the issues are addressed .
The chaos and potential risks which will result which will result from this failure to plan properly for the road construction must be addressed . We ask that you collectively revisit the issue and engage with local people in the decision making. We would appreciate a detailed response to our concerns and an explanation of what decision you make.