by aldc on 14 August, 2015
Conservative lead Devon County Council recently ordered the closure of four picnic areas and their public toilets along A361 /A39 as part of their cost cutting. Two of the lay-bys situated within Fremington Parish near Roundswell Roundabout are posing a sever potential health hazard.
Jan’s Diner which was situated at the Rooksbridge picnic area was forced to move last month and the toilets have been boarded up, as have the other toilets further down the A39 towards Bideford. The public are now using the surrounding woods to defecate and urinate and rubbish is piling up , which will cause further problems with vermin.
The two lay-bys have been an essential part of lorry drivers rest stops and “pit stops” for holiday makers and the general public for many years . There is nowhere else on the A39 that has these facilities as they too have been closed over the years.
The budgets cuts from central government have forced DCC into this short sighted decision but will cost them and the North Devon District Council dearly in the end as they will have to foot the bill to clean up these sites, as they become transformed into rubbish tips.
It sends a dreadful message to vistors to our region and judging by the comments in the local press disappointment and anger from local residents. It has been suggested that a new line be added to the signs next to the lay-bys that contributing to the incompetence have not been removed and continue to direct people to the now boarded up facilities – ” Tiredness Kills – Take a Break But Not Here , the rest areas have been closed by Devon County Council to save money. ”
Fremington is not alone in its concern at the closure of the lay-bys. Knowstone Parish Council appears to have been successful in preventing the closure of the ones on the North Devon Link Road. But it is too late for ours.
Fremington Parish Council wrote to DCC asking for clarification with regards to the future of the lay-bys situated in our Parish. The reply from John Hart , the Conservative Group Leader and Leader of DCC was read out and discussed at the Council meeting on 10 August.
DCC intends to offer at some point the sites to the market, which could include a change in their use subject to planning requirements. That is not something that is going happen over night. In the meantime the lay-bys will be left to turn into severe health hazards over the summer. I asked the Parish Clerk to ask DCC for further indication as to how long this process will last, but it appears certain that yet again we will be left dealing with a situation caused by the DCC’s inability to stand up to central Government – as both being Conservative controlled they believe in the same mantra of cutting budgets and services – which leads to this sort of short-sighted penny pinching that impacts badly on our local environment and community. We cannot ignore just this problem and hope it goes away.Leave a comment