There is now a planning application lodged with Exeter City Council – 14/4821/03 – for a “change of use from existing public house and one first floor dwelling in to three dwellings plus an additional new build dwelling and associated ancillary facilites.”
Following a meeting with the Case Officer, made the following comments as part of the public consultation:
I am pleased that the plan provides for 6 cycle spaces [2:03: Amount]
The Design Report document from architects Hilton Barnfield clearly acknowledges that the development site is in “a city centre location with good public transport connections” [1.02: Site Analysis].
And later in the report it states ‘the location is within walking distance of Exeter city centre and local amenities in the St Thomas district. Cycle routes connect the site with the city centre and routes out of the city” [4.00: Sustainability Statement].
However, one fact that is missing from the report is that the site is across the road from a bus stop that is, according to Stagecoach, the busiest in Exeter – there are 18 Stagecoach buses an hour timetabled to use this stop, along several out-of-town services throughout the day.
This alone, I would hope, would make this site a suitable candidate for a “car-free” development. And this would mean a restriction on residents applying fora permit in any Residential Parking Zones, as was the case of the old print works in Albion Street, St Thomas.
However, as we discovered when viewing the ground plan, I would question if there was enough space provided to enable 4 cars to manoeuvre into and out of the designated spaces.
So I would maintain, that as drawn, there is inadequate space to enable the provision of 4 car parking spaces. Yet again, to me, pointing towards a “car-free” development.
The junction at the First & Last is where 4 busy roads [Cowick Lane, Dunsford Road, Buddle Lane and Cowick Street] meet.
There is always chaos, confusion and congestion at rush hour – often resulting in the yellow box junction being illegally blocked. But I have spent many hours at this junction and I can confirm that this congestion isn’t always limited to rush hour – it can happen at any time of day.
The Design Report mentions that the site includes “a large used site to the rear with existing vehicular access’ [1,02: Site Analysis] but it latter mentions “the busy road intersection [2.02: Layout].
As it stands, the current courtyard has good visibility of the junction – the whole width is bounded by a low wall with a wide entrance provided.
I haven’t compared the planned width of the new entrance with the current one, but with a new building in place, the view of the junction to the right would be severely impaired and, in my view, would be extremely dangerous.
But my reservations don’t end there.
The entrance to this courtyard is immediately opposite the set-back white STOP line for traffic in Cowick Lane to turn right into Cowick Street – this is to enable the A bus [and other long long vehicles] to make the left turn from Cowick Street into Cowick Lane.
I believe that this would make the vehicular entrance into the new parking courtyard hazardous.
The only way to reduce the danger would be to proscribe that exit could only be by LEFT turn into Cowick Lane, and that ingress would only be from vehicles coming from Buddle Lane.
As these conditions cannot be made, I would hope that Devon County Council as Local Highways Authority would come to a similar conclusion to me – that providing parking spaces for this development would not be appropriate.
So my only conclusion is that this development should be car-free.