Ide park and ride application imminent
In January of this year, Devon County Council announced that their planning application to build a huge park and ride (or ‘car park’) on the outskirts of Exeter was imminent. A month on and at the time of writing, nothing has yet been submitted, but we can only presume that the application will go in any day now. For those interested, keep checking this website to see if the application has been lodged. https://new.devon.gov.uk/planning/ The planning team have already stated that no Environmental Impact Assessment will be required – not reassuring for those who believe this is a planning mistake which will not achieve any significant positive impacts, and will definitely detract from the currently attractive and rural approach to Exeter on this side of the city. No thanks to park and ride But beyond the question of local impacts, CWEST believes that this park and ride is as big a white elephant as the one proposed for the Oaklands Riding stable fields and we are continuing our campaign to extract information about the realities and facts behind this plan to spend £6 million of public money. A number of residents in Ide are also very unhappy about the proposal, arguing that a permanently lit large car park will spell the end of the gap between Ide and Exeter, allowing creeping but inevitable urbanisation. If you live in Ide, note that there is to be a Parish Meeting, (and therefore only for residents of Ide as it is part of a legal process preceding a village poll/ referendum), on Wednesday March 9th, in the Memorial Hall. Also see twitter #saveidegap to follow this campaign What’s it for?! CWEST is waiting (and has already been waiting for some time) for DCC to reply to our key questions:
1. What specific results ie in terms of transport improvements /impacts, are expected to be delivered by this park and ride? To date, DCC has only provided the vaguest of answers. And don’t forget, they have had to abandon their previous answers – improved air quality and reduced congestion – as their own figures showed these wouldn’t be achieved. We say that to spend £6 million of public money, the public need to know why that money is being spent.
2. What other options, if any, have been considered to achieve those results? In other words, where is the evidence that a park and ride site is the most efficient and effective way to secure whatever results it is supposed to achieve? We have not yet seen any evidence of work done to consider any alternative approach.
3. If, as DCC say, the car park can be used by people who just want to walk or cycle onwards, doesn’t that make it at least partly a new car park being built on the edge of the city? Of course, DCC would never secure either the planning permission nor the money to build a car park – but if only part of the area is to be used by those who park and use the bus, the rest of the area is in fact a massively subsidised free car park on the outskirts of Exeter!
A better way? CWEST was set up to campaign for a ‘smarter way’ to improve existing and future travel in SW Exeter. See our website swexetertravel.org. for more on alternatives to an expensive park and ride – a 20th, not a 21st century solution that will not contribute to truly sustainable travel. In particular, we think that paying attention to changing travel into and around Marsh Barton could achieve far more. However, to make comparisons, we need to know what DCC claim the park and ride will actually achieve…. If you agree, please tell others about this and encourage them to sign up for the CWEST newsletter via our website. We will alert people once the planning application is live, but in the meantime, spread the word