PARISH councils are being urged to lobby for transport infrastructure improvements between Tavistock and Plymouth before 3,000 new homes are built in the area.

There are fears that new homes at both ends of the A386 corridor from Tavistock to Plymouth could be built before any real improvements to the road or alternative transport take shape, potentially leaving hundreds of motorists facing difficult journeys to and from the city on a daily basis.

Plans have been submitted to South Hams District Council by Barwood Land for 2,000 homes at Woolwell which will be decided on later this year.

There is also in the region of 1,000 new homes under construction or have planning permission in Tavistock.

Concerned by the impact of all the extra cars on the road, Buckland Monachorum Parish Council is providing feedback to the plans and is urging all other parish councils in the area to follow suit.

Chairman of Buckland Monachorum Parish Council’s planning committee Ric Cheadle said: ‘There will be a lot more people and a lot more cars when these homes are built but the evidence that anything will be done about the A386 is thin on the ground.’

‘Plymouth City Council has no money to do it, West Devon Borough Council has no money to do it. Most people are just hoping that the Government will come to the rescue — I think that is highly doubtful.

‘Unless local people are prepared to get interested in the consultation and start giving their views, the houses will be built and nothing will be done to the infrastructure.

‘No-one really knows what the full impact of all this new housing will be but it will affect people getting in and out of Plymouth.

‘The A386 Tavistock to Plymouth Corridor Study by Devon County Council makes suggestions about ways to relieve pressure on the A386 but it is not a properly costed survey.’

Mr Cheadle said the parish council attended a meeting organised by South Hams District Council recently where the plans for Woolwell were outlined. He said he hoped other parish and town councils like Tavistock and Dartmoor Forest (Princetown) would see the importance of giving their feedback just like Buckland Monachorum had done.

‘The plans for Woolwell are in the Joint Local Plan but there is also a commitment to improve the A386 — it is vital that the two things are considered together,’ he added.

Various suggestions in the corridor study to provide alternatives to car use include building on bus and cycle provision and a possible multi-modal link (cycle and shuttle bus/electric vehicle) between Tavistock and the rail line at Bere Alston which will relieve pressure on the A386.

A park and change site could be provided at Yelverton enabling motorists to park and then cycle into Plymouth along the new cycle route.

The cost of a rail link from Tavistock to Bere Alston has now risen to more than £100-million and is not currently viable.

The new homes at Woolwell are expected to be delivered alongside a 13 hectare community park, sports fields, site for a new primary school and a new local centre.

A Devon County Council spokesperson said the proposed development at Woolwell would be required to contribute to highways improvements as detailed in the Joint Local Plan between Plymouth and South West Devon.

These relate to the implementation of the Woolwell to the George Junction Transport Scheme and a detailed transport and access strategy.

Details of specific improvements would be considered as part of the planning process, they said.

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