RESIDENTS fear for people’s safety if plans to create a new entrance to a property off a ‘dangerous’ stretch of road go ahead.

Councillors and professional drivers have added their voices to calls for the proposal to be refused.

The application is for improvements to an existing access to a property at Whitmore Coppice near Langton Herring, off the B3157 coast road.

The owners of the property say there is already access from the road, via an existing five-bar gate which leads to a track through the woodland. The application is an amendment to plans to build the property, approved in July 2016. A statement to planning officers reveals the proposed scheme will allow an existing access to become a separate, formal access to the property.

But residents fear that it could be dangerous, and several have already logged objections.

West Dorset district councillor Jean Dunseith, who represents the ward, said: “I feel that this entrance from Whitmore Coppice onto the B3157 would be dangerous due to the nature of the road, the amount and speed of traffic using it.  There has recently been a fatality on this stretch of road.

“This proposed entrance, although on a short stretch of straight road is located in a dip in the road, therefore the sight line can be deceiving."

A 37-year-old man from Portishead died in a crash on this stretch of road in July, and another man was seriously injured.

Barry’s Coaches Ltd, based on the Granby Industrial Estate, has also submitted an objection to the plan, on safety grounds.

Its statement read: “The proposed site is situated in a steep dip with blind summits both ways.  As a commercial operator of large vehicles we have reduced visibility at this section of the road, especially in the direction to Portesham.

“As we approach the summit and start to descend the road narrows and, with the trees, our vision ahead is restricted until we reach the bottom of the incline. We already have to make evasive actions when meeting other large vehicles/cars travelling too fast and often over the centre line.  Adding another hazard to the area would only raise the risk of more accidents in an already accident prone area.”

County highways officers have no objection, although they have recommended that conditions be imposed.

But the applicants believe the access point is safe, and there is ‘long range’ visibility.

The supporting statement reads: “The applicants own the land concerned and have consistently used the route to access their woodland over the last 18 years.

“Accessing the dwelling from the B3157 provides long range visibility in both directions, in excess of current Highway requirements.”

It concludes: “This application will allow an enhancement to an existing highways access that serves a single dwelling. The proposed alterations have been designed to meet DCC highways requirements and will be an improvement that benefits both the applicants and other road users.”

More than 40 people have now had their say on the application, which is due to be discussed by West Dorset District Council at a date to be confirmed.

Residents have until September 28 to submit any comments they wish to make.

Gates will be set back from road, says applicant

IN A response on the planning website, applicant Tony Beeson responded to the claims by residents that the entrance will be dangerous.

He said: “At least two of the objectors have stated that stationary traffic waiting to turn into the entrance will cause accidents. If the access if approved this is unlikely to occur as the gates will be set back at least 6m from the road edge. If it would further improve the situation I am prepared to set the gates back further from the road.

“Mr Madgwick, the county council’s transport development liaision engineer, has raised no objections to the application […] The access requirements meet a higher specification than the minimum required by the DCC guidance so Mr Madgwick must surely be satisfied that the access is safe and its improvement will not further endanger road users.

“I obviously cannot comment about the various objectors’ concerns about ‘accidents and general road safety’ as every driver has a personal responsibility to drive safely and in accordance with the relevant speed limit, road conditions, their vehicle’s condition, the road surface and weather conditions etc. The guidance and legislation which has been strictly followed is designed to minimise these risks.”