Councillors’ anger over Atlantic Way closure
16:45 26 February 2014
Town mayor and District Councillor angry over lack of communication as residents fear for nearby properties.
THE closure of a main road through Westward Ho! has sparked fury among councillors who fear it could be shut for months.
Last week Devon County Council closed off Atlantic Way amid safety fears a gabion wall at a site where 10 town houses are being built was beginning to bulge.
A county council spokesman said the road could be closed for ‘up to eight weeks’ but Northam Mayor Barry Mason and Torridge District Councillor Roger Tisdale think it will be more like months and could eat into the summer period.
Both councillors have received complaints from residents who fear the bulging wall could have a catastrophic effect on their properties should a landslide occur.
Cllr Mason said: “This development and its planning consent should never have been allowed by Torridge in the first place.
“It is an eyesore and has blighted people’s lives who live in its shadow and vicinity.
“Northam Town Councillors were totally against the plans and recommended refusal for various reasons. However this was ignored by Torridge.
“Both myself and Cllr John Himan complained last year that the wire gabions were bulging, but we were told everything was ok.
“Now we have this serious situation whereby our main route into Westward Ho! may be closed for months. But seriously, is this structure safe for those residents nearby?”
Both councillors have queried why the wall was allowed in the first place, but have received no response from Torridge or Devon County Council.
“It seems they are all denying any responsibility,” said Cllr Tisdale.
“It is just absolute beggars’ belief that this gabion wall, which is designed for land where there is no development on top, was allowed in the first place.”
Cllr Mason added that the road had now become a ‘useful but unwanted car park for workers’ and he has asked for work to be suspended on the site.
He added: “The original highway plans for these wire gabions were cleared by Devon County Council Highways. It is clear that these gabions are unsuitable adjacent to a highway and major building development.”