Cattle grid plan gets the green light

Thursday 13th November 2014 12:00 am
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THE installation of a cattle grid south of Stiniel Cross in Chagford parish received a unanimous thumbs up from West Devon highways and traffic orders committee (HATOC) last week—despite protestations from residents of the area.

The Chagford Commoner's Association approached the council regarding the installation of the proposed cattle gridand also has applied to Teignbridge District Council for permission to install a cattle grid south of Langaford Bridge in the North Bovey parish. The grids are designed to control the movement of livestock on Chagford Common and in particular stop animals straying on to the busy B3212 road.

They will be paid for by the commoner's association and terms on maintenance will be agreed between the county council and the commoners.

At a HATOC meeting in Okehampton on November 4, several residents of the Stiniel and Chagford area spoke of their objections to the plans, stating that the grids and their signage would become an eyesore, and that the Stiniel Cross grid was between two blind corners and animals could become trapped on those corners due to the grid.

Brian Norris, one of the objectors, said: 'This is a lovely place that will be ruined by the inclusion of these grids. There is no question it is a dangerous spot.

'Five notices or signs on the five roads into the common will be ruinous to the area.'

Cllr Gay Hill, chair of Chagford Parish Council, spoke in support of the scheme.

She said: 'The question of grids for Chagford parish dates back to the 1960s.

'Prior to this, the common was protected by gates.

'In 1992, there was public outcry as livestock were on the roads and in 1993 the parish council pledged its support for eight cattle grids.

'These are the two roads that lead to the B3212 and the grids are needed on them.

'We must be reminded that animals are victims of modern day life. People are ignorant to that sometimes.

'This summer has shown once again that these ponies and animals on the common need protection from motorists, and they need to be kept off the B3212. This will help to do that.'

Cllr James McInnes, a member of the highways and traffic order committee and county councillor for the Hatherleigh and Chagford electoral division, said: 'It was clear to me as far back as when I got elected in 2005 that this was an important issue for people in the area.

'Whatever side I come down on, someone will say I'm awful, so I am going with what I think is the best solution and why.

'I'm supporting this recommendation. It has been a very open process to this point.

'The commoners held an event in Chagford which I attended about the grids.

'The application has not only the support of the Dartmoor National Park Authority but Natural England and all the parish councils around the area.

'There are strong views on both sides, but it is about the safety on our roads for both motorists and animals.'

Ann Wilcox, the secretary for Chagford Commoners, head ranger of Dartmoor National Park Authority Rob Steemson and chairman of Devon County Council Cllr George Gribble also spoke in support of the application at the meeting.

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