Agenda item

Report of the Head of Planning, Transportation & Environment  (PTE/16/66) on preparatory work undertaken and upon the outcome of consultations on a preferred route for a scheme of improvement to the A30/A303 between Honiton and the Devonshire Inn, attached.


(Councillors Connett, Diviani, Julian and Westlake attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).


(Councillor Diviani declared a personal interest in this matter by virtue of being an East Devon District Council and Chairman of the Blackdown Hills AONB).


The Cabinet considered the Report of the Head of  Planning, Transportation & Development  (PTE/16/66) summarising work undertaken in the preceding year and the outcome of consultations held during August and September of 2016 on possible options for the improvement of the A30 between Honiton and Devonshire Inn; culminating in the proposal now submitted for a preferred route to be taken forward in an Outline Business Case for  submission to the Department for Transport. 


The Head of Service's Report outlined inter alia (a) the background to and the recognised need for the improvement of  the A30 for a number of factors (including  improving journey times, quality and reliability, route resilience and encourage economic growth in the area, (b)  the issues around and complexity of identifying the most beneficial solution (c) the outcome  of consultations held locally in recent months and (d) the involvement  of key stakeholders and other  partners (e.g. Blackdown Hills AONB, East Devon District Council, Town & Parish Councils, Natural England, Historic England, the CPRE and the Environment Agency), throughout the process of development. 


The Cabinet noted that, in respect of the public consultations referred to above, some 887  responses had been received. 53% of respondents agreed with the need for the scheme based upon the current road standard and safety.  56%  of those opposing any scheme did so because they favoured an alternative, such as the A358 scheme or dualling which had in some instances already been discounted by Government.   Of the 53% of respondents that agreed there was a need for a scheme, 44% preferred the Orange route and 23% were content with any of the suggested options: in total therefore 67% of those in favour had expressed support for the Orange route as the preferred route.


Cabinet Members also reported the receipt of further representations received from members of the public -  for and against improving the A30 in this area – and, in accepting that was merely the start of a long process, emphasised it gave weight  to the Council’s commitment to  securing and retaining two strategic highways routes into Devon and the South West.


There was general agreement amongst stakeholders and others such as the Heart of the SW LEP and Devon & Cornwall Business that the route needed improvement while the Blackdown Hills AONB and CPRE expressed concerns with the environmental impact of both routes suggested,  suggesting further work was needed to test less intrusive options.


The Head of Service’s Report commented in detail upon all representations received and, notwithstanding the significant work undertaken to minimise the impact of the scheme on the AONB, acknowledged that further identification of mitigation and compensatory measures would  be undertaken as the scheme progressed.


The proposal now before the Cabinet was for a preferred route option for highway improvement works only, and did not adopt or approve (for the purposes of Part VI of, and Schedule 13 to, the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, or otherwise) any highway or other land that may be intended to be improved by the Secretary of State. The Report anticipated that the Department for Transport would  make a final decision in respect of the specification, location and scope of the improvement works and carry out the improvement works.  Further, it was anticipated that Highways England would apply for any relevant development consent orders.


The Head of Service’s Report also incorporated an Impact Assessment relating to the possible impacts of the proposal, which had been circulated previously for the attention of Members at this meeting in order that as part of its determination of the next steps in the process the Cabinet might have full regard to the responsibilities placed upon it to exercise its Public Sector Equality Duty, under s149 of the Equality Act 2010, where relevant.  In acknowledging that the Department for Transport would carry out the works envisaged, it also recognised that the environmental impacts of any  proposals would necessarily be fully assessed through separate Environmental Impact Assessments process and posited that the proposed route would have beneficial  impacts on safety, journey times and reliability  and  would  benefit  the village of Monkton by removing  existing heavy traffic. All sections of the community and/or groups of people would be affected equally.


The matter having been debated and the options and/or alternatives and other relevant factors (e.g. financial, risk management, equality and legal considerations and Public Health impact) set out in the Head of Service’s Report and/or referred to above having been considered:


It was MOVED by Councillor Leadbetter, SECONDED by Councillor Hart, and


RESOLVED that the Cabinet hereby proposes the Orange Route to the Secretary of State, as the preferred route for the scheme of improvement works to A30/A303 comprising the creation of a 60mph wide single carriageway standard 2+1 from Honiton to Devonshire Inn, for his view and potential implementation by the Secretary of State.


[NB:  See also Minutes 113 and 117 above. The Impact Assessment referred to above may be viewed alongside Minutes of this meeting and may also be available at:].

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