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Ideas for Ottery St Mary's 'road to regeneration' revealed

Image: Tony Atkin

They include an 'Ottery Lottery' and electric vehicle charging points

Proper parking enforcement, more car parking spaces, electric vehicle charge points, better buses and an ‘Ottery Lottery’ to pay for low budget road schemes are among the ideas for Ottery St Mary’s ‘road to regeneration’.

In total, 14 suggestions have been outlined by the town council’s Regeneration Group traffic sub-committee, to inform future traffic strategy planning in the town.

The most striking idea would see an ‘Ottery Lottery’ to generate cash for small schemes that councils do not have a budget for, such as marking out new parking bays, renewing signage and installing yellow lines.

The report, that was presented to the town council last week, says that the ‘Ottery Lottery’, run under official lottery rules with a maximum first prize up to £20,000, would be a way of obtaining a regular independent revenue stream, useable over time, to pay for many of the relatively low budget local road-related works which currently suffer long delays through lack of county council funding.

It says: “Dependent on its success and negotiations with the County Council, we feel this funding might be available to pay for provision of additional, or more frequent attendance of, enforcement officers to address the many parking issues around town on a more regular basis than is possible at present.

Cllr Glyn Dobson, Regeneration Group Chairman, said: “The report considers a wide range of present and potential future local traffic concerns. These range from parking issues to HGV numbers and bus sizes – to adequate enforcement of parking regulations, and the future on-street recharging of electric vehicles.

“In all, the report makes fourteen recommendations to Ottery St Mary Town Council. The most important is a comprehensive traffic survey, to inform future traffic strategy planning through detailed evaluation of the amounts and types of traffic using the town’s historic streets.

“Within this, a survey of on-and off-street parking facilities is also proposed, to determine current usage and availability, and anticipate future issues arising from a regeneration programme involving traffic reduction measures.

“A particularly innovative recommendation would allow local people to benefit from their own funding of key projects, through contributions into a local ‘win-win loop’. It is suggested that the town council considers introducing a public ‘Ottery Lottery’, to help generate a funding pool for ‘minor’ works on the town’s roads. Some works are noted in the report as urgently required, but are currently subject to long delays through budget restrictions.”

The 86 page report details traffic, parking and related issues in Ottery St Mary, reviews the current situation, and considers future implications for both traffic and those getting around town on foot and bicycle.

Other recommendations made by the committee are for a formal, comprehensive and substantive traffic survey to be commissioned, engage the local business community in meaningful discussions on the plans for town regeneration and that every effort is made to secure funding to add 20 to 30 extra parking spaces at the Land of Canaan car park as soon as possible.

The report also calls for a proactive dialogue with East Devon District and Devon County Councils on kick-starting a public Electric Vehicle chargepoint agenda in the town, exploratory dialogue is opened with Stagecoach southwest concerning use of smaller buses on the Exeter-Ottery St Mary-Honiton-Axminster route, and that action is taken without delay to begin effectively addressing issues relating to widespread yellow line, pavement parking and no waiting abuses and related parking matters.

An urgent meeting that would include the County Council enforcement officer management, the police, the county councillor and Ottery St Mary Ward councillors, and to agree early action in areas where such issues are reported as most widespread, is called for.

They recommend a significant increase in enforcement levels are carried out, both in the town centre, around the primary school, Paternoster Row and Ridgeway, to bring widespread abuse of parking regulations under control as swiftly as possible, and on an ongoing basis.

The Regeneration Group traffic sub-committee produced their traffic report in line with comments from a series of surveys with residents, businesses, schools and special consultees such as the emergency services.

Were the ‘Ottery Lottery’ idea to be taken forward by the town council, it would require East Devon District Council as the local licensing authority to award them a licence.

The town council will discuss the report and the recommendations at a later date, with Cllr Dobson adding: “It puts forward innovative suggestions that, if adopted, could provide a win-win payback situation – putting local people in the driving seat – with a real incentive to make those things that matter most to them on the town’s roads happen much more quickly.”

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