My letter of objection to the closure of the Gulworthy Cut
TAVISTOCK (01822) 615085
25 January 2004
Dear Mr Gash
UNCLASSIFIED ROAD - NEW BRIDGE TO GULWORTHY - PROPOSED PROHIBITION OF TRAFFIC
I object to the proposed order on the following grounds.
1. It is disproportionate. The justification claimed is
that there have been 4 minor injury accidents in the last 3
years at the eastern junction with the A390. That does not
justify effectively closing a road as a first response. Use of
the power to prohibit traffic should be sparing; in this case
it is an arbitrary, excessive and unreasonable response.
2. Measures other than excluding or discouraging use of
the road ought to be implemented first. Recent measures have
sought only to discourage use, not to address the safety for
traffic using it. No measures have been taken to realign the
eastern junction, where the accidents have occurred. It is
claimed that it is cheaper to close the road. That is an
excuse, not a justification: the order, if confirmed, would
abuse the Highways Authority's power to close a road in order
to avoid its duty to maintain it.
3. The road is heavily used as an alternative to the main
road eastward. Closing it will cause great inconvenience to the
(mainly local) traffic accustomed to using it. The inconvenience
caused will disproportionate to any perceived harm that may arise
from not closing it.
4. The length of road is 0.25 miles. The length of the
alternative (A390) is 0.55 miles. The increased risk associated
with the additional distance travelled and increased traffic
density on the A390 has not been assessed and offset against
the benefit claimed for the proposed closure, nor have the
results of any relevant risk assessment been published.
Furthermore, the environmental disbenefit of increased traffic
mileage has not been assessed and disclosed.
5. Further to this, no publicly disclosed criteria or
policies have been published or reasons, based on criteria or
policies, given in detail to show that the order is objectively
justified, that the level of perceived risk in allowing the
road to remain open to traffic is sufficient to warrant closure
or that the cost of measures to address the alleged risk are
disproportionate to the presumption that the Highways
Authority's first duty is to keep open the Queen's Highway.
This is contrary to public policy and the public interest in
that full disclosure should be made of the published policies
and the reasons relevant to those policies for decisions
whenever a service is withdrawn from the public by an
accountable authority to avoid the perception of arbitrary,
excessive or unreasonable exercise of powers.
Roger Gash Esq
Devon County Council
Exeter EX2 4QD
6. The effect of the order would be to create a private
drive maintained at public expense for the exclusive benefit of
frontagers. This is or ought to be considered contrary to
public policy. Anecdotal local belief is that pressure from one
or more frontagers to remove passing traffic from their
frontage(s) has contributed to this DCC's intention to do so.
Whether or not true, this perception reflects badly on the
County Council and leads to a further perception of abuse of
power, contrary to the public interest.
7. Highways Authorities' first duty is to provide and
maintain public roads and footways. Only in extreme
circumstances ought they to use their powers to remove them
from use. No cogent evidence of a hazard sufficient to justify
imposing such draconian inconvenience on road users has been
Roger W Mathew
25 Jan 04