Traffic in the Town Centre

One of my focusses continues to be traffic in the centre of South Molton. By this I mean the speed of the traffic and the type of traffic,

The pavement along Broad Street on the south side of the Medical Hall is very narrow indeed. That on the north is not much wider. This often means that pedestrians have to walk in the road, putting their life at risk from fast moving vehicles. Frequently these are heavy vehicles such as large lorries and very big tractors.

Many people live in flats above the shops in the centre of town. The amount of traffic, and the speed at which it travels, means that this is a very noisy environment indeed. It’s exacerbated by the large number of heavy vehicles driving at speed in the early hours of the morning and the preponderance of ‘boy racers’ late at night.

South Molton speed limits and weight restrictions
South Molton speed limits and weight restrictions

Broad Street currently has a weight restriction in place which runs from the junction with New Road to the end of the Enhancement in front of the Post Office.  This weight restriction appears to be completely ignored.- as do those that apply to West Street and North Street (particularly the former).

If the weight restriction were to be enforced, this would reduce noise and improve the safety of residents. It would also help protect the fabric of the many historic listed buildings in the town centre from vibration damage.

In addition, I think that because of the nature of the centre of South Molton it would be entirely appropriate to have the whole of the town centre covered by a 20mph speed restriction zone.  On average 40% of road deaths in the UK occur on urban roads. Speed limits of 20mph rather than 30mph have been shown to reduce deaths and casualties by anything up to 60% (RoSPA, TRL, BMJ).

Quite apart form reducing casualties, and the number of accidents, lower speed limits also result in significantly less road noise. Thus resulting in a safer and far more pleasant environment for residents.

I therefore  believe that the police should be encouraged to:

  • enforce the current weight restrictions;
  • enforce the current speed restrictions.

Devon County Council should be lobbied for the introduction of:

  • a 20mph speed limit in the centre of town;
  • traffic calming measures (traffic calming measures, along with a reduced speed limit, are far more effective than a speed limit on its own).

North Devon District Council should be asked to close the lorry park and consider turning it into a coach park.  The lorry park is mainly used at night, with the vehicles leaving very early in the morning and driving through South Molton. Coaches would generally only use the parking facilities during the day and would bring business into South Molton – which is more than can be said for the lorries.

The Town Council should consider the purchase of a mobile speed activated camera  to show motorists what speed they are driving at.

3 thoughts on “Traffic in the Town Centre”

  1. Weight restriction are only subject to necessity of access if required for the purpose of collections or deliveries. Out of interest, if a driver of a large goods vehicle over 7.5 tons arrived via the A377 and the B3227 at the chipboard factory and after loading required to join the A361. How is the driver meant to get there seeing there’s a weight restriction covering West street ? Anyone suggesting going all the way back to Umberleigh and using the A377 to travel to the barnstaple ring road would be a fool. This would create a trip of some 42 miles and take an hour and 15 minutes or more in a heavy goods vehicle. To reach the same point on the A361 that could take approx. 7 minutes and cover only 3.2 miles if said vehicles were allowed to use the small length of West street covered by the 7.5 ton restriction. The saving on pollution, wear and tear on roads and a lessening of other risks speaks for its self.

    1. When you write “Weight restriction are only subject to necessity of access if required for the purpose of collections or deliveries” you’ve missed out a key fact – “vehicles requiring legitimate access within the area covered by the weight limit, such as to deliver to a shop or access an industrial unit, are permitted”. This is certainly not the case for access to or from the chipboard factory. If someone delivering to the chipboard factory arrives via the A377 and then needs to get onto the A361 they should turn left when they come out of the factory gates, drive to Filleigh past the Stags Head, turn right and, at the next junction, turn left onto the B3226 as far as the Aller Cross roundabout where they join the A361. Hardly a detour of 42 miles. It’s a route that doesn’t involve breaking the law. That latter could result a £1,000 fine for the driver and/or the operator of the vehicle. Unfortunately, it doesn’t involve penalty points. This means that, in the case of infringing weight restrictions, any fine is simply seen as a cost of doing business – an attitude which is far too prevalent.

  2. We have come to live in South Molton very recently but even in these few months we have found the heavy traffic coming in via East Street and the speeding of both heavy and light vehicles has increased considerably. All day and part of the night too. Some speed is excessive and the noise is really awful. One cannot have a bedroom window open at night. You talk of 20mph limit in the town itself but residents we have spoken to would request that this starts at least on the edge of the conservation area. I would ask that someone in authority monitors this traffic flow. At the present time there are 3 lorries carrying spoil along East Street to and fro all day long. 12 lorries in 30mins up hill empty then very shortly down the hill loaded. I would question the speed at times. With the heavy load behind and then down the steep hill there will surely come a time when they cannot stop in time.
    Cars are speeding way in excess of the 30mph, maybe 50 or even more at night.

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