Exact date when Exeter's controversial LTN scheme will be removed

Road blockages in Vaughan Road, Heavitree
-Credit: (Image: DevonLive)

Devon County Council has confirmed when most of Exeter's controversial LTN scheme will be removed. Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee (HATOC) decided earlier this month to scrap the Active Streets scheme in Heavitree and Whipton and end the Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders “as soon as practicable”.

HATOC officers were investigating whether planters could remain in place to act as traffic calming measures, while still allowing through traffic. Devon County Council said that, over the last couple of weeks, an independent road safety audit, a site meeting with County Councillors and highways officers, and further investigation of options had to be carried out before instructing contractors to remove the equipment.

The safety audit highlighted a number of concerns and, from Monday, July 1, temporary traffic filters will be removed from Hamlin Lane, Vaughan Road and Whipton Lane. However, temporary traffic filters and planters in Ladysmith Road/Park Road and St Marks Avenue will not be removed until after the end of the school summer term.

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Concerns included a potential risk to cyclists passing on the kerbside of the planters and how they safely merge back with traffic, as well as the impact of give way markings obstructing side road access and driveways. The review also found that retaining the planters would offer minimal traffic calming benefits compared to their removal, due to the narrowing effects of parked cars and their proximity to a roundabout where speeds are typically lower.

Devon County Council said it is "fully committed" to identifying ways to encourage increased walking, cycling and wheeling in Heavitree and Whipton, while allowing residents to get to where they need to go. The council said it will now look at other elements of the recent HATOC decision to hold discussions with schools within the trial area, disabled blue badge holders and representatives of people with protected characteristics (including disabled people, older people and carers) for detailed feedback on the scheme.

Focus groups will also be organised with community leaders and residents in the autumn, with officers preparing for these meetings over the summer. The nine-month long trial was deemed to have significantly negatively impacted the lives of disabled people, those with health issues and even pupils and a local special school who were said to have been subjected to 'additional distress and pain'.