Teign Estuary Trail: DCC still on target to submit planning application at the end of May 2021

Notes of joint meeting of Bishopsteignton Parish Council working group and Teign Estuary Trail Campaign Group on 11 May 2021 at 7pm via Zoom

Present:

Bishopsteignton Parish Council – Cllrs Kate Benham, Jo Head, Keith Lambert, Henry Merritt (Chair), Rich Moore

Teign Estuary Trail Campaign Group members – Bill Bailey, Ben Northcott, Judith Sharples (note taker)

Devon County Council – Cllr Ron Peart, Roger North

Teignbridge District Council – Cllr Andrew MacGregor, Estelle Skinner

 

  1. Welcome

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.

  1. Update

Roger provided an update on progress with the section from the Passage House Inn to junction with Morrisons as follows:

  • The proposed alignment has been fine-tuned over the last few months to address ecological and environmental issues;
  • Plans for mitigation measures have been drawn up e.g. planting of new hedgerows to replace those that will be removed;
  • Discussions are ongoing with Network Rail and the Environment Agency about the impact on wildlife sites, flood risks in relation to the pond lagoon at Wear Farm and the need for escape routes using public rights of way;
  • The extent of views from the TET had been queried – the level would generally be above the rail line;
  • Consideration has been given to making the trail a bridleway but it has been decided that this is not appropriate;
  • The latest scheme plans and land plans will be shared with landowners;
  • Draft agreements have been drawn up which set out how landowners will be compensated;
  • DCC is still on target to submit the planning application at the end of May with the Board giving its approval to the submission of the planning application on 5 May;
  • Press releases will be issued before the planning application is issued – these will be shared with Henry and Ben;
  • The report detailing the results of the 2020 consultation will be included as an appendix, together with details of other consultation that has taken place in previous years;
  • The section from La Roche Maurice walkway to Morrison’s junction will not be included in the planning application as this is classified as permitted development. The plans to widen the walkway and introduce a 20 mph speed limit could be pursued separately but another road safety audit will be conducted first.

Roger and Estelle then provided an update on the section from Teignmouth to Dawlish as follows:

  • Roger and Estelle are still liaising with Iain Stewart at Sustrans with the objective of securing funding for this section;
  • A stage 2 road safety audit is being undertaken for the section from Dawlish to Holcombe – this will enable more detailed plans and costings to be drawn up;
  • DCC is continuing to liaise with Network Rail on their plans for the new sea wall – it may be possible for this to include provision for cycling but the inland route could be pursued as well.

In response to questions, Roger and Estelle clarified the following points:

  • The use of CPOs remains an option if planning permission is given but landlowners do not agree to the sale of their land for the scheme to proceed;
  • Neither TDC nor DCC will be seeking funding from Round 1 of the Levelling Up Fund for any section of the TET;
  • TDC and DCC will be working together over the next 12 months to prepare a detailed business case for the TET, potentially linked to improved cycling routes to Torbay, which should put the councils in a stronger position to secure funding in the longer term;
  • It is TDC’s intention to put in a bid for Round 2 of the Levelling Up Fund using the business case for the TET and a link to Torbay via Newton Abbot but this is dependent on Round 2 going ahead as it has not yet formally announced. TDC is Tier 3 for the Levelling Up Fund whereas Torbay is Tier 1 so linking to Torbay is of particular benefit for this potential funding stream.
  • The planning application process is likely to take several months but Roger is hopeful that the outcome is likely to be known by September and a Board meeting has been scheduled for 7 September for this reason;
  • The concerns raised about the trail crossing people’s driveways will be examined in more detail as part of the road safety audit;
  • Lessons have been learnt from the Exe trail regarding the use of materials for board walks – plastic may be used rather than wood as it is more durable.
  1. Action points

The importance of councillors using their political influence to ensure funding for the TET is prioritised was discussed. It was noted that a number of candidates in the DCC election had mentioned their commitment of the delivery of the TET in their campaign literature. Judith reported that at a recent DCC scrutiny meeting, councillors had reviewed DCC’s strategy for cycling and multi-use trails  and had asked for a number of schemes to be prioritised, including the extension of the Wray Valley trail to Chagford, but no one had mentioned the TET.

Cllr Peart and Cllr Mac Gregor confirmed that both DCC and TDC do regard the TET as a priority and that they are personally committed to its delivery. It was felt that good progress had been made in recent years, helped by both councils providing funding for the extensive work needed to prepare the planning application.

Estelle asked for Judith’s help in drawing up the business case for funding, particularly in evidencing community support for the TET. Judith said she would be happy to help with this.

Henry thanked Roger and Estelle for another very helpful update and it was recognised by everyone present that the submission of the planning application would be a major achievement and milestone in progress towards the delivery of the TET.

Date of next meeting

This was arranged for Tuesday 14th September at 7pm via Zoom.

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