villagers have welcomed the surprise appearance of traffic cameras at three locations amid a long battle to have roads gritted during winter.

Bere Alston residents have taken to social media to ask about ‘mystery’ cameras suddenly appearing fixed to poles

The three sites are the bottom of Bedford Street (or Fore Street) opposite the Edgecumbe pub at Quarry Corner (on the approach Tavistock or Plymouth) from on top of blue sign about HGV vehicles and near Denham Bridge.

The parish council has been fighting for Down Road (southerly route) into and round the village to be gritted during ice and snow. Bere Ferrers Parish Council said the road was the main route for HGVs to the west of the village and beyond westwards and therefore, should be a priority for gritting.

However, county council highways officers maintained the main route for heavy traffic was through the high street (Fore Street) and therefore, was their focus for gritting.

Villagers needing to protect anywhere else were advised by the county to ‘self-help’ by buying salt bins to shovel salt and grit onto Down Road themselves.

Peter Crozier, chairman of Bere Ferrers Parish Council, said: “This has been a long saga in trying to have The Down back on the winter gritting round which was dis-continued several years ago to save money. This road was always prone to frosty days let alone snowfall when we get it and is the main route to the west of the village.

“The County Highway’s reasoning was that Bedford Street B3257 was the main route into Bere Alston and beyond for all vehicles whatever their size.

“So HGV’s were expected to navigate this route to get to all properties west of the village including Weir Quay and the farms and boat yards which is ridiculous.

“Devon Highways insisted the parish council buy salt storage boxes then local people could spread the salt when needed. The parish council contended that this was an inefficient use of resources, when the gritting lorry always traversed The Down any way, and could spread grit where needed.”

A DCC spokesperson said: “Following the parish council’s request to add The Down on the winter pre-salt network, three temporary traffic surveys were set up last week.

“These surveys, in and near the town, registered the number of vehicles on the road at specific times and no other information was gathered.

“Surveys like this are used to help plan highways schemes across the county and in this case the results will help us determine if this road should be added to the gritting network.