Plympton St. Maurice is one of the jewels in the South West Devon constituency crown. Fore Street and George Lane in particular contain many historic houses, together with the imposing St. Maurice church, Plympton Guildhall and the ancient Plympton Grammar school where Joshua Reynolds was educated in the 1700’s. All of this historic beauty nestles into a Conservation area with open countryside on one side and the ruins of Plympton castle on the other.
Unfortunately the calm tranquillity of this important spot has long been troubled by the scourge of modern life: namely excessive traffic movements. In particular, it has long been a major rat run between Plympton and Plymstock/A379. This has been exacerbated in recent times by the building of Sherford and (at different times) other connecting routes between the two suburbs being either closed or impeded in some way. There has also been a growing incidence of massive HGV lorries drifting through the narrow lanes of St. Maurice and on more than one occasion, getting stuck.
Fortunately, the ward is represented by one of Plymouth’s hardest working councillors who has been working behind the scenes to get something done about this growing problem. Cllr Terri Beer has now persuaded the Plymouth City Council to act and this week a letter goes to all residents setting out proposed improvements.
The proposals combine: extending the HGV weight restrictions to more of the affected area; introducing a 20mph speed limit and constructing a series of road calming measures which should make it unattractive as a rat-run.
These embryonic proposals are not yet a perfect solution, but they are a starting point. There will be a consultation exercise which will seek to genuinely collect the views of local residents and road users. I expect other ideas to emerge during that consultation period to further enhance the proposals.
Some would like to see Buller’s Hill (the road that connects St. Maurice to Brixton) closed to all through traffic. The current view of highways planners is that people living in St. Maurice may well wish to use the facilities that will form part of Sherford as it is built out (e.g. Sports and Medical facilities) so that closing the road might be short-sighted. People can express a view on that as part of the consultation
In our modern world we have to combine people’s need to travel by car with protecting our living environments. It is not always an easy balance.