Lack of public support to close an underground subway scuppers traffic reduction plans for Exmouth town centre

Plans to reduce traffic in Exmouth town centre are set to be scrapped after scores of residents failed to support the closure of a subway.

Devon County Council (DCC) has announced the proposals are in doubt because Councillors have been urged to terminate the Exmouth Gateway plans after failing to win public backing.

The county council said The Dinan Way Extension – which proposes to provide a link to the A376, moving traffic away from residential roads in the area – was not expected to be impacted if the gateway plans were scrapped, but added the go-ahead must come from the Government.

Devon County Council said plans fill in the underground subway near the railway station – in a bid to widen the pavement and ‘improve the experience for people arriving in Exmouth’ – had been rejected by the majority of those taking part in two public consultations.

A Devon County Council spokesman said: “The Dinan Way Extension, which proposes to provide a link to the A376 and move traffic away from residential roads in the area, is not expected to be impacted if the gateway scheme is not undertaken, although it is still to be confirmed with the Department for Transport.”

He added: “Devon County Council is working closely with the Department for Transport to understand the financial implications of not progressing the gateway scheme.”

Exmouth

Dinan Way meets Hulham Road, Exmouth.
Image: Google maps

Plan for the Dinan Way extension were approved in 2017.

Plan for the Dinan Way extension were approved in 2017.

Devon County Council’s spokesman said recommendations will go before Devon County Council’s Cabinet next week (Wednesday, May 8) calling on Councillors not to proceed with proposed active travel improvements near Exmouth railway station.

The DCC spokesman said: “The “Exmouth Gateway” proposals had been planned to be part of the Destination Exmouth Levelling Up Fund improvements for the town, which also includes an extension to Dinan Way.

“The gateway scheme, which aimed to reduce the amount of traffic in the town centre and improve the experience for people arriving in Exmouth, included plans to close the subway near the railway station to enable widening of the shared pedestrian and cycle path in this area and changing the zebra crossing to one with traffic signals.

“Among other improvements, it also proposed to introduce a new zebra crossing outside The Strand Inn, a pedestrian crossing on The Royal Avenue, and widening of the footpath to the leisure centre.

“However, during two rounds of public consultation, the majority of respondents did not support the closure of the subway.

“Without the additional space provided by the infilling and closure of the subway and its ramps, it’s not possible to deliver the other active travel improvements.

“This has led to the recommendation to remove the Exmouth Gateway proposals from the Destination Exmouth scheme.”

Devon County Council successfully submitted a bid to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund for £15.765 million for its Destination Exmouth improvements.

Devon County Council, East Devon District Council and Exmouth Town Council had agreed to contribute £1.752 million to the plans.

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