Hatherleigh’s traffic and parking problems have being getting steadily worse. Our historic town with its narrow streets combined with a growing number of houses and households with multiple cars. Also with the added problem like so many other places that people if given the choice will park as close as possible to where they want to be, a particular problem is the supermarket entrance with cars often parking on the pavement in the door way!

A key issue arising from consultations over Hatherleigh’s Community Plan was a call for a traffic review. Recently a Traffic/Parking Survey was distributed to all residents in town and the results highlighted particular problem areas around town and comments on how people would like to see them dealt with.

A public meeting was held as part of this review to gather any further information and to hear how residents and businesses would like the Town Council to proceed in finding solutions. The meeting had a turn out of nearly 50 people and went as expected. It was useful not only for Town Councillors to hear face to face the concerns people have but also importantly for representatives from WDBC, the Police, and our Borough (Patrick Kimber) and County (James McInnes) Councillors to hear stories of the disruptions caused.

One thing that is clear is the difficulties and differing opinions of deciding what measures would be effective, ie there is a an overwhelming call to make the car park free, but contrary comments are that the car park used to be free and wasn’t used. Introducing yellow lines is also a contentious issue. There is also the concern that any measures introduced will simply push the problem into satellite streets. The outcome of the meeting showed a need to liaise with Devon County Council traffic engineers and West Devon Borough Council in investigating the most suitable options to solve our problems, after which there will be further public engagement.
Below are the Public Meeting notes and a break down of survey responses.


Update August 2016

Below is the transcript of a letter to WDBC on Aug 16th expressing our concerns following the offer of a short term lease (12 months) for the car park:

Dear Cathy Aubertin (West Devon Borough Council, Operational Manager (Environment Services).

As you know Hatherleigh has been taking steps in attempting to ease the parking problems in Town. This email is to summarise the current position we are in and ask for your help and advice in seeking a way forward.

Hatherleigh undertook a large consultation phase for our Community Plan in 2013 this highlighted a number of key problem traffic bottlenecks and parking problem areas. Following on from this and as a result of an intensity of requests to act, earlier this year a resident survey and public meeting was held (which we appreciated you attending). The outcome of this was that the Town Council have requested a Traffic Review with Devon County Council with the intention and likelihood of instigating some form of parking restrictions.

One overwhelming appeal from the public has been to make the Town’s car park free. This solution is seen as an essential aspect for not only relieving the pressure from overcrowded streets but one that would receive widespread community support as it would form an alternative solution to any introduction of parking restrictions.

The Council feels very strongly that it would be unacceptable and unfair to introduce restrictions without any alternative parking arrangements, the two go hand in hand. In fact it is certain restrictions without a free car park will simply move the problems into satellite streets.

You are aware there has been some discussion on the possibility of the Town Council paying a form of rent or lease to WDBC on account that the area is not performing effectively as a car park and WDBC makes a considerable financial loss.

This brings us to the most recent correspondence in which we were disappointed to learn that WDBC appear to be backtracking and are only now offering a very short term lease of one year. We feel this is woefully lacking on your part in appreciating the task we are facing in seriously trying to resolve the Towns parking problems.

We are disheartened in how to find a way forward as we can only see a future backlash. A major concern would be that without any long-term or concrete assurance WDBC could simply ‘recall’ the car park after the Town Council had initiated parking restrictions. This would cause a return to the current situation made worse by the fact residents would be faced with parking restrictions and have to pay high costs to park their cars.

Can you please explain why you can’t offer a long-term lease? What other possible plans could you have for this area?

 Regards                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Clare Tyson                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hatherleigh Town Mayor