Parish councillors and members of the public have expressed concern about the clarity of markings which indicate virtual footways on the main road through Mary Tavy.

This ongoing highways issue was raised by Mary Tavy parish council chairman Paul Reid at a public meeting last Thursday. In a presentation to all those in attendance, Cllr Reid outlined that the parish council has repeatedly asked Devon County Council for the virtual footway on the A386 between the Royal Standard and Edgemoor House to be repainted.

Cllr Reid said: ‘The Highways department have accepted responsibility for this but say they no longer support virtual footways as they are deemed to give pedestrians a false sense of security. They won’t repaint the little pedestrian symbols; drivers don’t see those, they see the white line. Several other parish councils nearby with virtual footways such as in Yelverton told us they were unaware of this.’

Alternatives to the virtual footway such as raised pavements have been ruled out due to cost and logistical issues, however the parish council is now considering the possibility of refuge islands. They also expressed concern that if they were to repaint the lines (at a cost of more than £2,000), they would bear responsibility if an accident occurred.

Cllr Reid said: ‘If you ask highways, they will say that national guidelines do not support virtual footways or the paintings of these lines. Cornwall Council and Hampshire County Council are repainting lines, irrespective of what national guidelines may say -— can we not be accommodating for the sake of what needs to be done? Sir Geoffrey Cox’s office have approached them on this matter too and have not had replies.

‘Rather than trying to work with the parish council, Highways gives the impression of hiding behind a big book of arcane rules.’