The Beast of Bakers Roundabout

DBN has been watching with interest as tempers rise over the Bakers Roundabout disaster. Plagued by design problems and slow construction, this roundabout has now become the biggest social media talking point in Dartmouth. Just when the visitors are flooding back after the pandemic Dartmouth has a blockage on the main road entrance to the town making local travel difficult and the visitor experience fraught!

Image courtesy of Damien Gwardy

Frustration is rising because the delays on passing the roundabout are being aggravated by the failure of the traffic lights that control the flow. At least twice over the bank holiday the lights have failed and on one occasion we were trapped in the melee that followed. I wish I had recorded the people throwing the bollards to the side so that we could go down past Sainsburys to avoid the jam.

There are two issues that are causing annoyance to residents. One is the design of the roundabout which does not seem to take account of the large delivery lorries that deliver to Sainsburys and other businesses in the areaand the second is the time it is taking to construct this island. Made worse by the fact that we rarely see enough workers on the site attempting to get it built in good time.

Just when Dartmouth was welcoming the biggest increase in visitor numbers ever seen in the town, albeit post lockdown, we have been strangled by an unnecessary obstruction on the main road access to the town. If you have experienced the problem yourself please comment below. We must make sure the residents frustration with this roundabout is communicated to both Bakers Estates and Devon County Council.

Here is just one of the emails We have received about this problem

On Tue, 1 Jun 2021, 06:58 Martin Sayer, > wrote:

On BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY, undoubtedly the busiest day for traffic this year, the temporary traffic lights at the roundabout at the entrance to the Little Cotton Farm housing development malfunctioned, This effectively BLOCKED ACCESS TO DARTMOUTH from the Kingsbridge/Totnes direction. 
Of course the construction site for this RIDICULOUS ROUNDABOUT was abandoned. The roundabout is clearly too big and is off centre to the access roads, creating a chicane on the Dartmouth side. 
The current situation is a farce. 
WHO is ACCOUNTABLE? Who is going to FIX? WHEN will the construction be completed? 
Best Regards, 
Martin Sayer


    • Lisa I accept that the design was approved by DCC albeit with some reservations (according to Jonathan Hawkins) but the delays in completion are down to the amount of resource Bakers are prepared to put into the development, unless it is a different contractor building the roundabout. It will work against them in the long run because it will be difficult to visit the show homes if the island is jammed.

  1. Why does it have such steep sloping sides? It looks like a fairground sideshow. If finished with this ridiculous profile it’s an accident waiting to happen.

  2. “roundaboutgate” reminds me of the arrival of Lidl in 2008.

    It took twice as long to build that soppy pedestrian “island” in the road - as it took the Germans to prepare/construct/sign off that entire supermarket (and stock the shelves).

    Does anyone involved in the roundabout plans feel any determined sense of duty or responsibility?

  3. The roundabout was deliberately designed to restrict the flow of traffic as the area was considered “a residential area” in 2016 at the initial assessment and that there might be possible danger!

    The original assessment and recommendations were over ruled by a Safety Order carried out by a “third party” ( normal in assessing these developments) which further restricted the size of traffic lanes. The reassessment was challenged by the traffic officer but was upheld to the traffic officer’s surprise.

    The head of the highways department at Devon county council was dismissive of the concerns as they were raised and overruled any debate.

    There has been some recent revision after construction in a minor widening of the west side lane.

    Baker estates is caught between the planning permission from SHDC and the recommendations on traffic from DCC.

    The responsibility, in my opinion, lies at two levels:- 1, the initial assessment of the project in 2016 permitting an entrance onto the Main “A” road if it was perceived as dangerous when there is a more practical round about that could have been accessed via the overflow and bus car park. nothing had been built at that time. 2, The stubborn resistance by the head of highways to re assess when concerns were raised.

    • Thank you Hedley for this useful background to the current debacle. Again I think Bakers can pass on blame for the design but not for the slow delivery of the new roundabout. If they are the constructors then they must apply more resource to get it finished quickly.

      • Paul,
        I telephoned DCC highways dept 16th March and raised my concerns. It took a bit of heavy talking to get to someone with sufficient authority. I explained that in my ever so humble opinion that it was being incorrectly built and was not giving sufficient consideration to the fact that it was an “A” road and that Nelson road is the designated HGV rout into the industrial area of Townstal. He said that he would send someone out to investigate.

        About 14 April Brendon Stent, enforcement officer and new to the highways department ; enforcement means that he is responsible for making sure that the construction, whatever it is , is up to the specific regulations and planninhg permissions. He was concerned that the west side vcarriage way had been reduced to 6m width. at the minimum he felt that 6.5m was needed. He tried to raise his concern to his boss head of the highways whose re[ly was sufficiently discourtious to trigger his call to me. He said that richard Jackson was the original assessor and that he would have a word with him. They both went to the head of department who sent them away. I have emails from both Jackson and from the head of highways. Jackson is a sensible chap I have had dealings with him before. he agreed that it was not the right solution and was upset that the apeal was blocked.

        The other man suggested that it was assessed in 2016 and that it needed to slow the traffic down. that the width of the lanes was correct and that he was not inclined to change things. i then sent a resume to the town council who forwarded it to Jonathon who took it up having also noted how narrow and inconvenient it was. Since then there has been a further site meeting and the width of the west side has been increased after construction had been done. mangnall became involved.

  4. Well at least there are 2 levels of local authority to blame. Devon CC as the Highways dept. Ans South Hams as the Planning Authority. If it was a Unitary Council there is no blame as they dare not critisise their colleagues and the concept of China Wall in local government is non existent. And although I love the ‘gate’ terminology it might be dangerous to use as someone might have the bright idea to instal one in the vacinity. 😉 . Love to Dartmouth.

  5. So as a motorcyclist of 50 years, could someone tell me how to approach and handle this quick and bad slope. And can some give precise instruction to the many 16 year old moped riders who have not covered this in in their CBT training ?

    • Hi Dave - from Norton side, proceed at full throttle and aim for the middle bit. It’s so steep, you should achieve approx a 300ft launch, and you should easily clear the pesky zebra crossing just past the BP garage.

      Hope you’re keeping ok.

  6. One has to wonder if the developers cannot construct a simple roundabout then what is the quality of the homes being built. There are two fundamental problems ,the design and the time to construct. Those responsible should be named and shamed and I suspect if they lived in and around Dartmouth things would move much faster. The construction time is down to the lack of resource working at any time. In mitigation Baker Developers should be invited to make a substantial contribution to Dartmouth charities from the contingency budget which they could easily afford. Come on Councillors apply some pressure.

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