'Colditz' residents in Paignton call for great escape after being 'fenced in'
RESIDENTS living alongside roadworks in Paignton are hoping for a great escape after developers 'fenced them in' to their very own 'Colditz'.
Developments taking place for road junction improvements near Parkbay Garden Centre have seen the main road reduced to a single lane controlled by traffic lights.
It has meant huge delays for drivers travelling between Paignton and Brixham.
While this work takes place, developers have put up a fence running alongside the road.
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Now Rowbrook Close resident Alan Philips has decided to take a stand against the 'prison bars'.
He said: "Up until about June we had been having regular letters telling us what's going on.
"My gripe is that we haven't been told what's going on now.
"We have been suffering the dust and noise from the main road, all the cars and houses are filthy, and there's a generator running across the road at the site 24/7."
Since work began on Brixham Road itself, fencing has been placed along the edge of Rowbrook Close, which overlooks the road, directly opposite residents' homes.
Mr Phillips said "We came home one afternoon and found the fence all along the verge opposite us.
"They've closed the pavement and the cycle path, so all pedestrians and cyclists are being directed through our road, which is narrow and full of parked cars at the best of times.
"It looks like we're in Colditz, and we've been told it will stay that way until Christmas. It's like we're in a prison."
With the closure of neighbouring Roselands Drive, local bus services have been disrupted and been diverted to avoid the stop, which has also been fenced off.
Stan Blackdown, 93, a fellow resident of Rowbrook Close, relied on the 66 service to get him to Torquay Hospital.
Mr Blackdown said: "I can't walk up the hill to Roselands Drive to catch the 12a, which would only take me into the centre of Torquay, so now I have to arrange for hospital transport, which is £6 each way. If my wife comes with me that's almost £25 for a round trip.
"The council said it was for health and safety, what about my health and safety? It's a two-way thing.
"It seems it doesn't matter who you inconvenience."
Neighbour Elaine Vaughan said: "Nobody was notified that the fence was going up, it just appeared one afternoon in the first week of September.
"I know they have the work to do, but it's not very pleasant. Because the pavement and cycle lane is closed, it's all funnelled through here."
The developments have also had an impact on local businesses.
Mike Redding, foreman at Western Garage, said: "Our customers can't get across the road and into the garage; they're having to go all the way down the road to the roundabout and turn around to come back again.
"The backlog of traffic is stopping customers from getting in.
"What we really need is something like a yellow box there preventing traffic from stopping outside the garage.
"There is now a sign there saying 'access only, keep clear' but nobody is paying any attention to it.
"We have even had customers phoning us and asking us to go and collect the vehicles from them, rather than having to drive them here themselves, and we just don't have the staff to be able to do that."
John Britton, of Parkbay Garden Centre, said: "Contractors Balfour Beatty are trying to minimise the disruption with traffic lights, and we will have two-way traffic again all through the weekend.
"One of the difficulties that we did not anticipate when work began on the road were the number of unknown services underneath it, which has resulted in them having to hand dig across the road by hand.
"They have had to be very careful with them. They have to think of safety at all times.
"We are trying to minimise the caging effect, but it is all for safety of everyone at the end of the day. They are doing a great job as far as safety is concerned."
A spokesman for Balfour Beatty confirmed the need for safety fencing, but declined to be quoted.