Harmful proposals

Email your letters to andrew.keeble@archant.co.uk or write to us at Opinion, North Devon Gazette, Un

Email your letters to andrew.keeble@archant.co.uk or write to us at Opinion, North Devon Gazette, Unit 3, Old Station Road, Barnstaple, EX32 8PB. Please keep letters to maximum of 300 words and also include your name, address and contact telephone number. - Credit: Archant

Regarding the article “New development plans for Chivenor” (Gazette, February 13).

I feel compelled to write regarding the proposed development at Chivenor as I firmly believe that these plans are totally unsuitable and positively harmful to the local area and economy.

I was first aware of the proposals at the end of last year and following the recent, lengthy and extensive flooding of the site in question, I assumed that the proposals would have been scrapped (or perhaps replaced with plans for a water park or marina!). Indeed, it would have been interesting to substitute the accompanying “graphic representation” for a photograph of this exact location taken on December 22, 2012, when the proposed site was submerged under deep flood water.

In addition to this obvious concern – which in itself should render the plans unviable – I believe that the following points are worthy of note:

Braunton is already a serious traffic bottleneck, especially during the summer months and increasingly at weekends, not to mention weekday evenings. In the past few years this has become noticeably worse, with traffic often tailing back from the centre of Braunton to Chivenor roundabout and beyond.

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In addition, traffic tails back from the centre of Braunton to beyond Lobb Field (returning from the beaches) and from Croyde/Saunton to Braunton going to the beach.

The impact of such a development would not only exacerbate this problem but could also have a detrimental impact on the wider local economy, including shops, pubs, restaurants, holiday parks, etc.

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Bearing in mind that North Devon’s largest industry is tourism, research has shown that efficient transport links are essential to ensure the future prosperity and viability of this industry. Traffic bottlenecks and delays deter visitors (customers) from coming – again, research indicates that people are put off visiting places perceived to have traffic problems and instead go to more accessible locations.

Moreover, North Devon seems a have a wealth of empty industrial units, so why on earth build more? North Devon also has a number of “brown field” sites which should surely be developed before consideration is given to “green field” proposals.

Any proposed development at Chivenor Cross should not even be considered until the long term future of Chivenor Camp is confirmed.

Whilst I fully appreciate the pressures that local authorities are under to approve such proposals, especially with the renewed political emphasis upon construction as a means of “kick-starting” the economy, this should not herald an age of “bad planning”. I firmly believe that the Chivenor Cross proposal is completely inappropriate, both in terms of its scale and nature.

P Stephens


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