A FOOTPATH in Chudleigh is to be widened thanks to the generosity of a landowner.

Members of Teignbridge’s highways and traffic orders committee unanimously approved widening the footway, funded by a developer, at Station Hill, on the B3344 southwest of Chudleigh.

They heard that, while developments in that part of town have increased the number of people wishing to use the road heading into Chudleigh, a narrow section is ‘not suitable for all pedestrian groups, including people with prams, wheelchairs or walking dogs.’

A council report added: ‘This issue combined with a busy main road, which is likely to experience increasing traffic flows due to further development, may result in unsafe behaviour including people walking or wheeling in the road.

‘It may also encourage residents to use their private vehicles instead of walking to school and the town centre.’

To make room for the widening, the owners of the adjoining Gordon Lodge have agreed for their front boundary wall to be moved back around two metres into their garden. They’ve gifted the land needed free-of-charge.

Local district councillor Richard Keeling (Lib Dem, Chudleigh) thanked the landowners but said the process has taken ‘more time than it should have, endangering those families with children who have to access the local primary school and town shops from the development.’

Councillor Jerry Brook (Conservative, Chudleigh & Teign Valley) agreed, stating: ‘I honestly don’t think this is a very good reflection on DCC because of the length of time it has actually taken to get to where we are now.

‘I would say that it’s just a total bureaucratic hold-up, which I think is really very sad.

‘There was a serious injury on that road most recently and this land was made available by [the landowner] a number of years ago, and we are now at the point where hopefully we will get that footpath widened.’

Asked when the project would start, an officer said it will be immediately put on the work programme but he would confirm the date with councillors when it is known.

The committee approved the scheme and also agreed to send a thank you letter to the landowners.