Torbay Council has reluctantly signed the Section 278 agreement for the work that is needed on Brixham Road for the new Inglewood housing development.
The highways works are needed to facilitate the development that was approved by the Planning Inspectorate in April 2021, and as a consequence, the Council has a legal obligation to enable the same.
This means that Brixham Road from Windy Corner to the junction with Goodrington and Long Road will be fully closed from 3 January 2023 to 30 March 2023. It also means that in May and June works, using traffic management, will start to improve the Windy Corner junction. The work on the Long Road / Goodrington Road junction will start late September until December, again using traffic management.
Legal advice has been that the Council could be found to be frustrating the implementation of the planning permission granted by the Secretary of State were it not to give agreement. This could risk paying in the region of £2.5 million in damages to the developer.
Councillor Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council, said: “Once the independent Planning Inspector had made their decision in favour of the developer’s application, the planning system is stacked against local communities and the council and is in favour of the developer. It is Whitehall and not the Town Hall who put us in this situation.
“We have constantly challenged the developer to come back with a resolution that will reduce the impact, and we were hoping that a balance could be struck that would have seen one lane kept open at all times. However after very careful analysis this technically was not possible. Due to the type of work that needs to be carried out, which includes raising and widening the road on the bend, the road isn’t wide enough to enable this work safely with a lane of traffic left open.
“Given this, and the legal advice received, we have had to make the difficult decision to sign the agreement which means the road will be closed for three months at the beginning of 2023.”
The Cabinet at Torbay Council were acutely aware of the potential impact of the works. As a consequence they requested that the Council instruct independent highways engineers to review the proposals and consider any alternatives, seek specialist legal advice and gather evidence as to the impact of this road closure. This was to ensure that all options would be fully considered in an attempt to find a way to limit the amount of disruption for residents and businesses.
The Council did read, take on board, and fed back to the developers the impact comments received. They also brought together organisations including Brixham Town Council and Brixham Chamber of Commerce so that their concerns were also set out clearly to the developer. The developer has given commitments to get the work needed done as quickly as possible and reduce the length of time for the road closure.
Councillor Darren Cowell, Deputy Leader of Torbay Council, said: “We know this isn’t the news our residents and businesses wanted to hear, and we know this will bring disruption along with concern from those who use the road, live around it as well from those who live and have businesses in Brixham and the surrounding area.
“We will be regularly meeting with the developer and contractors throughout the works to ensure we are getting the latest updates to pass on to our residents. To support this work and to ensure that the road closure is kept to a minimum, we have agreed to the developer’s request to work longer hours, into the evening and on weekends. The agreement does include penalty clauses and we will use these if or when needed.
“With all road closures there will be disruption, mainly through the first week as people start to find their way around the closure. Please consider adding extra time to journey when this road closure is in place.”
Within the agreement with the developer, the Council has requested that the diversion route during the road closure is closely monitored and reviewed along with its own Highways engineers. This is to help ensure that delays are kept to as minimal as possible
Why can’t one lane stay open?
One option closely looked at was to have one lane open while the work was ongoing. The carriageway at the moment is 6.2 meters wide and where it will be raised and widened it will then be 7.3 meters wide, which is the same width as Goodrington Road. For this work to happen, a legal safe zone to protect those working on the road would need to be in place. This would mean one lane, with a safe working zone would only leave 1.5m for traffic, which isn’t wide enough for vehicles to use to safely pass the roadworks. This means that this is not a condition that the Council can reasonably require.
The agreed diversion from Windy Corner to Long Road will take you along Dartmouth Road and then up Goodrington Road, and vice versa from Long Road to Windy Corner.
To help with this diversion, the lights at Windy Corner will be replaced with temporary traffic lights and a pedestrian crossing. These lights will be permanently on green and will only turn red when a pedestrian wishes to cross the road.
Temporary lights will also be placed at the Goodrington Road / Dartmouth Road junction. This is to help those turning right into Goodrington Road coming from Paignton and those who need to turn right out of Goodrington Road onto Dartmouth Road. The lights will be set back to give large vehicles the space to turn into the road. An alternative diversion for large vehicles has also been given if they would like to use this. This will take them into Paignton and then out along Totnes Road to Tweenaway.
Temporary double yellow lines will be put in on Goodrington Road as you drive up to the junction with Dartmouth Road.
The diversion route will be monitored and any issues with timings of lights etc. will be altered and adjusted as quickly as possible.
Modelling of traffic times has been done by the developer and this has been considered by the independent highway engineers instructed by the Council. This shows that the impact of the diversion when travelling from Windy Corner to Long Road along Goodrington Road will be between eight and 15 minutes, depending on the time of day.
Roadworks, Brixham Road residents and Emergency Services
To help these works take place quicker and to reduce disruption as much as possible Torbay Council have agreed to the developers working longer hours on site.
Residents who live on this stretch of Brixham Road will be contacted by the developer and their contractor and will be informed about how they can access their property. They will also be told how their waste and recycling will be collected and how deliveries can be made.
The developer has assured the Council that they will be providing extra people on site to make the most of the longer working hours. They have also leased land from the Farmer whose land is next to the site so the verge can be used for drainage instead of down the middle of the road around the Hunters Tor Drive area, which was the original plan. This has helped reduce the time the road will be closed.
This also now means that part of Brixham Road from Hunters Tor Drive to Windy Corner can be kept open for the Emergency Services if they need it. The Emergency Services are also being kept informed and have the contact details for the Site Manager for any emergencies. An emergency route through Hookhills has been agreed if Dartmouth Road needs to close. This can’t be used all the time though due to safety reasons.
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