Those of you who have followed the slow progress of the Rocklands development through the planning process will be aware that when outline planning consent was granted the closure of the bottom part of Oldway Lane was one of the conditions on the consent. Following the submission of the recent detailed application by Linden Homes town councillors met with both highways and planning officers to try and seek a different solution for Oldway Lane. That meeting produced a proposal to introduce a one-way traffic system on a short section of Oldway Lane. This would enable traffic to travel along the lane from the existing developments off Oldway towards the A38 junction at Chudleigh Bridge, but would restrict traffic travelling north eastwards along Oldway between the proposed entrance to the new development and the existing developments. The reduction to one-way only traffic would allow the creation of a safe pedestrian and cycle route to the town centre, something that cannot be achieved from the Station Hill access to the development.
As there is already planning consent for a total closure the planning officer can only ask Linden Homes to consider this proposed change. My suspicion is that they will be content to comply but, even if they don’t, all is not lost. A road closure of Oldway Lane would require the approval of the County Council’s Highway & Traffic Order Committee (HATOC). Given the level of public and town council opposition I think it is unlikely that HATOC would approve the closure.
The planning officer responsible for this application has written to Linden Homes proposing this change to a one-way system. She also raises a number of other issues regarding the proposed design and layout of the development. She also highlights that both Natural England and the District Council’s Biodiversity Officer have objected to the application as they consider the bat mitigation measures to be insufficient. The letter is on the planning portal and can be accessed using the reference 17/01099/MAJ. It’s a lengthy letter but well worth a read as it usefully summarises where we are with this application.