Everyone knows that the centre of Totnes was not designed for motorised transport.
Enormous amounts of time and energy have been spent arguing the pros and cons of restricting private cars and delivery vehicles in Fore Street and High Street. Short term solutions have been tried, but permanent resolution of the problems seems no nearer today than it was fifty years ago.
One of the consequences has been the continuing damage to ancient structures in the town. Many buildings bear the scars of vehicle impacts. Mostly, the structural damage has been slight, with injuries only to the driver’s pride.
Shortly before Christmas much more serious damage was done by an oversized vehicle to a building at the top of Castle Street. This made the building unsafe and posed a risk to the people inside.
This was the second time this building had been damaged in the last few weeks and there have been numerous scrapes over the years. Damage like this is hardly surprising given the apparent reluctance by officials to restrict vehicle movements in the town.
Somewhat surprisingly there is no width restriction on the High Street, which gives access to the Narrows. There is an illogical warning sign at the bottom of Castle Street advising that the road is unsuitable for vehicles over 7’6’’. The width of the roadway at the top of Castle Street is actually 7’. Any vehicle wider than this inevitably mounts the pavement with risks to the neighbouring building and its occupants. Also the vertical bollards inevitably become less so.
Normal Bollard Service Resumed
The police were quick to respond to this latest incident and closed the road. The damage to the building has been repaired. The road has been re-opened but nothing has been done to restrict the size of vehicles and prevent further damage. The Town Council and the District Council are aware of the problem, but are powerless to act. Devon County Council as the Highways Authority is responsible for width restrictions and road signs. Their main weapon appears to be the bollard. Fore Street and High Street are well supplied with bollards. These are great for displaying the work of the knit bombers, but many have suffered damage and are clearly not effective.
Talk to the hand…
Devon County Council have been unresponsive to requests to discuss the problem in Castle Street. This may be further evidence of the impact of austerity or possibly the implementation of central government’s desire not to impose restrictions on motor vehicles.
The Totnes Pulse asked Jacqi Hodgson, Devon County Councillor for a comment, but she has not responded.
Let’s hope something can be done before the next building is damaged.
Have you any suggestions or thoughts? Comment Below…