Our open letter to Inglewood Developers Deeley Freed and Persimmon Homes
Our Chamber held an open meeting on Thursday 24th November. The Inglewood Development and your proposed road closure was the primary topic.
(In the interest of transparency and clear communication, I am forwarding this open letter to our local MPs, Torbay Council, publishing it on our website and sending a similar letter to Persimmon’s Board.)
The meeting was attended by over 170 people, including local councillors, business owners and residents associations. There was a palpable sense of incredulity and indignation within the room at your proposals for the road closure and associated diversions, due to both (a) the impact it could have on the lives and livelihoods of thousands and (b) the complete lack of engagement you have had with Brixham businesses, residents or community groups about this.
During the meeting we presented all the information we are aware of up to now. We made every attempt to represent your plans objectively and to answer questions factually. A summary of our slides and suggestions from the audience will be placed alongside this letter on our website.
It was clear that our audience was angry, and this was not appeased by the presentation we gave. Scrolling through the attached 1,054 pages of complaints submitted to Torbay Council in their recent public consultation will give you a flavour of the community’s views. We strongly encourage you to set up alternative opportunities for you to engage with Brixham residents directly; if we can help with setting something up we will be happy to do so.
In the context of a complete lack of engagement up to now, it was extremely disappointing that there were no representatives of Deeley Freed or Persimmon at the meeting. It should not be us who had to bring your plans to our community, only weeks before you hope to start work.
We were pleased that Torbay Council were represented at the meeting. They were able to outline the timeline and process for making the decision on the Section 278. The audience was able to share their views, and we outlined our remaining significant concerns and the steps we believe are necessary before they should agree to the road closures.
We still have significant concerns
We recognise that you have very different motivations to us; you have made it clear that you see even major disruption as an unfortunate but acceptable side effect of the development. We, however, fundamentally believe that there is a certain level of disruption to travel in and out of our peninsula which would make the project unacceptable. If your proposed diversion routes are not capable of handling the combined traffic of Dartmouth and Brixham Road, traffic will quickly back up and lead to gridlock – with enormous consequences on people going to and from work, students getting to school, lorries full of fresh fish getting to port, etc
You have failed to reassure us up to now that your road closures will not cause this level of disruption and damage. We have offered our time to engage with you on this but you have spurned the suggestion, which invites the conclusion that you don’t have sufficient evidence for your claims that the diversionary routes will be able to cope.
We also haven’t seen any evidence that the planned routes can handle HGV traffic. Your latest newsletter states an alternative route for HGVs is now under consideration, five weeks before you plan to start work; Torbay Council were apparently not aware of this when we presented it on Thursday evening.
We appreciate the change to the plans you made recently, by moving the drainage works into an adjacent field – this was an excellent step and partially resolves some of our concerns, for example by opening an emergency route into Brixham if Dartmouth Road is blocked. But the fundamental concerns of the diversions being unable to cope are still not addressed.
The planning inspector’s appeal statement requires that developers must “ensure the construction phase of the development is carried out in a safe and acceptable manner that minimises effects upon the amenities of neighbouring uses and living conditions of neighbouring residents, and in the interests of the safety and convenience of highway users”. The CMS you produced earlier this year makes no mention of road closures or diversions. You acknowledged after repeated questioning on October 24th that you had done no analysis of the capacity of your diversion routes at that point. Consequently we do not believe that your plans are in line with the detail or the spirit of this requirement of the appeal decision.
We have three suggestions which may resolve our concerns
- The overwhelming concern of everyone in our town is the capacity of your diversion route to cope with traffic flows particularly at peak times. On November 16th you presented us with some numbers; I’m sorry to report that your conclusion that the diversion will add only 10 minutes to journey times at peak times was met with derisory laughter from our audience last Thursday. We have asked several times for you to explain the model and input data for this calculation but you’ve declined the opportunity to do so.Without a clear analysis, independently verified, of the capacity of the diversion routes we don’t believe that the council can be confident that the section 278 isn’t a contract which could lead to our town being effectively cut off from the rest of the UK, and we continue to put pressure on them to reject it as a result.
The same applies to the route for HGVs and buses, which we have no evidence will be able to handle the routes you have proposed.
Time is running out for you to provide this now – but you have had 6 months so far to identify this as a critical issue.
- Now that the drainage works have been removed from the scheme, access to your new roundabout from Windy Corner is possible. We believe there must be a better option available, routing traffic (at least in one direction) along your land, either onto Waddeton Rd or Brixham Rd. This would still be extremely disruptive for traffic flow in and out of the town and should be for the shortest possible time. But it would offer an additional route for vehicles and would remove most of the two-way traffic flow on Goodrington Road, which we believe will be the bottleneck of your diversion route.We expect that the reason that you haven’t presented this option before now was due to the drainage works – but these have now moved, opening this (and perhaps other) options which should be fully investigated before you proceed on such a risky scheme.
- Whatever highways plan is eventually agreed, it is imperative that your works are completed as quickly as possible. Your current plans are reduced from four to three months. This is not good enough. We challenge you for the road to be back open in less than two months. Your newsletter said you are asking for permission to work until 9pm on just ten evenings. This should be every day!! The scheme must be approached with the same urgency it would be if traffic flow to a motorway junction or an airport terminal.
We look forward to the next update on December 8th. In the meantime, we politely and urgently request that you consider the three suggestions above; we would welcome your conclusions in writing by Dec 6th so we can update our members.
With sincere hopes of a successful outcome,
Alex Foley (vice chair)
Matt Crabtree (chair)
Brixham Chamber of Commerce
Developers’ Newsletter sent to us on 22nd Nov
The approved housing development at Inglewood requires highway improvement works along Brixham Road. These will enable access to the site and will improve traffic flow. These works are required and are part of the planning permission granted by the Secretary of State in January 2021 (Application Reference: P/2017/1133).
The works comprise:
- Widening of the junction at Long Road;
- Raising and widening Brixham Road to improve forward visibility and traffic flows;
- A new site access roundabout;
- Two new pedestrian crossings on Brixham Road to allow connectivity of the site and new primary school to the White Rock and Hookhills area;
- The improvement of traffic flows through Windy Corner and;
- Drainage connection works for the development via a Section 104 Agreement with South West Water.