Plans that would have seen farm traffic banned from joining a main road and instead sent on a long detour through a housing estate have been slammed as ‘bureaucracy gone mad’.

Councillors on Friday were due to approve a scheme that would introduce a no right turn for all traffic turning right on to the A385 from the True Street Cross junction in Berry Pomeroy.

Instead, traffic would be sent down the narrow Blackpost Lane if they wished to turn right towards Torbay, a route that passes several houses, and onto an equally dangerous junction.

The South Hams Highways and Traffic Orders Committee had been asked to introduce the no right turn restriction for all vehicles, but overruled officers’ recommendation and kept an exemption for vehicles leaving Great Court Farm.

Cllr Jonathan Hawkins said: “If we don’t exempt agricultural vehicles, the farm will have a significant amount of problems and to make agricultural vehicles go all the way down Blackpost Lane is unacceptable.

“That junction already needs improvements for the vehicles it has got and is no better than this one. Arguably, the Blackpost Lane junction is more dangerous. This is unfair to the farm, and this is ‘bureaucracy going mad’.”

Cllr Jacqi Hodgson added: “We have to work with the farming community and to not send them on a much longer route and to Blackpost Lane which isn’t much a better junction anyway. I want an exemption for agriculture.”

South West Farmer:

Blackpost Lane Junction, that officers had wished to send farm vehicles to. Picture: Google Maps

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The officer report had recommended that the proposed no right turn be implemented to mitigate against the additional traffic that is likely to use the junction as a result of the nearby development of up to 75 dwellings at Great Court Farm, saying the proposal will also improve the safety of the junction for existing road users.

But Cllr Julian Brazil said that if the junction was that dangerous that this was needed, then maybe the site should never have been allocated for housing in the first place, while Cllr Rufus Gilbert questioned why they were even asking for this, given the only collision in the last five years involved a drunken driver pulling out in front of a motorcyclist.

Explaining the reasons why they didn’t think the farm vehicle exemption should be introduced, Neighbourhood Highways Manager John Fewings said that it would only be exempting the vehicles that are the slowest and largest and likely to provide the biggest problem.

But Cllr Hawkins added: “These are far more cautious and careful, as I’ve never seen a speeding tractor.”

The South Hams HATOC voted to introduce the no right turn restriction, but with the exemption for agricultural vehicles.