Resisting expansion of popular holiday park and reducing traffic are priorities in future vision for Otterton

Reducing traffic and resisting any expansion of Ladram Bay Holiday Park have been highlighted as priorities in a blueprint for the future of Otterton. 

The village’s Neighbourhood Plan aims to ensure it continues to be an outstanding place to live, work and visit and to preserve and enhance its historical significance and built environment.

It also insists that any new development should meet the needs of the local inhabitants first.

The detailed document will help shape developments in Otterton over the next decade and beyond.

Reducing the volume and speed of traffic through the village – and heavy goods vehicles – are also listed as a priority, as well as resisting any future expansion of the Ladram Bay Holiday Park.

The plan states that the holiday park has grown to its maximum size within its permitted boundary and has a detrimental impact on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

It is also claimed in the blueprint that the venue has an impact on the village in terms of excess traffic, congestion and the accompanying pollution that cars, delivery vans, lorries and caravans bring.

The plan adds that the access road is totally inadequate to serve such a large site and vehicles coming to and from the site must be properly controlled to prevent congestion.

Support will, however, be given to any proposal which improves the road infrastructure giving access to the site and for walking and cycling, cuts the quantity of holiday units, and reduces the need to travel by car and number of delivery lorries.

The Neighbourhood Plan outlines that there was a 146 per cent increase in vehicles travelling through Otterton on a Saturday in August when compared to one in November.

It states there was a 341 per cent increase on a Tuesday in August when compared to one in November.

By far the biggest issue raised in the traffic part of the questionnaire concerned Ladram Bay and it is the traffic that is generated from this popular site, including the visitors, the trades and the movement of the lodges and mobile homes, that causes huge concern to Otterton residents…

The plan says: “All traffic to Ladram Bay (including movement of the lodges) has to pass through the village, as it is located at the end of a narrow road, which turns into a farm track and footpath.

“This is seen as a very major problem for the village, causing a significant increase in traffic and congestion at times, with many questionnaire respondents highlighting this issue.

“By far the biggest issue raised in the traffic part of the questionnaire concerned Ladram Bay and it is the traffic that is generated from this popular site, including the visitors, the trades and the movement of the lodges and mobile homes, that causes huge concern to Otterton residents.”

The plan also says of Otterton: “In many places there are no footways for pedestrians to walk safely along the main street.

“On-street parking in the village is a problem, giving rise to traffic jams at busy periods and heavy volumes of traffic, which are a major concern for many parishioners, [and]is exacerbated by the lack of off-street parking along the main street.”

The blueprint calls for the village to be provided with a car park for visitors as a shortage of spaces is also affecting businesses, the community shop and the village hall.

Keeping the children involved and satisfied with their community adds to its vibrancy, so any planning requirements relating to play areas should be viewed favourably…

In terms of new housing, the majority of respondents to a survey about the Neighbourhood Plan either did not want further development, or suggested the North Star site, which already has planning permission for 15 homes.

Policies in the plan say that no development should be allowed to have a detrimental impact on the landscape and character of Otterton village and the parish as a whole by virtue of its location, scale, density and design.

Any necessary future development should support proven local needs first, for those with a local connection to the parish, says the blueprint.

These should be small-scale developments to include affordable housing and properties for downsizing, accompanied by all the necessary improvements to village infrastructure, it adds.

A children’s questionnaire was also distributed to the village and nearly 65 per cent of youngsters wanted a skate park or ramps.

Nearly 90 per cent greatly appreciate their natural environment and said that it is either ‘very important’ or ‘important’ to them to be able to walk along the footpaths by the river, hills and cliffs around Otterton.

“Keeping the children involved and satisfied with their community adds to its vibrancy, so any planning requirements relating to play areas should be viewed favourably,” states the plan.

East Devon District Council’s cabinet last week unanimously noted the formal submission of the Otterton Neighbourhood Plan.

Members congratulated the producers of the blueprint for their dedicated hard work and commitment in producing the document.

The Neighbourhood Plan will now go forward to a formal examination stage to make sure it is ‘sound’.

If an inspector agrees that it is, it will then be subject to a referendum where residents can to vote for or against its adoption.

If at least half of votes cast support the plan, then it can be brought into legal force.

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