A TRIAL traffic light scheme due in Starcross was abandoned before it began.

The pilot was due to have started on Monday but according the Starcross Parish Council, it was halted before the temporary lights were even switched on.

The Devon County Council experiment was aimed at improve conditions for all road users through the historic pinch point at the 18th Century Courtenay Arms Mews in Starcross.

But by Monday evening, the parish council said a decision was taken to stop the trial.

The council claims when teams tried to set up the equipment on the southern approach, it became clear the trial was going to cause problems for vehicles larger than a car to pass.

In a statement, it said: ‘As retaining the signals had the potential to very quickly cause problems and upset local residents and businesses, a decision was taken to remove the trial with immediate effect.’

A Devon Coutny Council spokesperson confirmed: ‘Soon after the scheme was implemented it became apparent it was having a negative impact on traffic flow so, in consultation with the local member, the lights were removed.’

Starcross Parish Council said it had warned DCC it was looking at implementing the scheme on plans which were years out of date.

The width of this section of the road makes it difficult for vehicles, particularly HGVs, to pass easily and often leads to queuing traffic at peak times.

Currently, two-way traffic flows on the road past Starcross Fishing and Cruising Club pass in close proximity to pedestrians using narrow footways.

The trial of temporary lights on the A379, which had been partly funded by county council member Cllr Alan Connett’s locality budget, was meant to trial how signal controls would work.

The lights had been due to be located south of the Courtenay Arms Mews car park on the northern side and adjacent to the Galleon Inn on the southern side.

The parish council has so far declined to make comments on the scheme as it claims the map used to draw up the proposal was out of date.

In a statement, the council says: ‘We requested a copy of the plans for the scheme and this arrived on January 17. 

‘It was immediately apparent that the map was of the year 2000 and 2013 schemes for removal of the Starcross Fishing and Cruising Club boundary wall in order that the pinch point outside Alexander Mews could be widened from the existing 4.5metres to 5.5metres which is the absolute minimum for two-way traffic.

‘We wrote to Devon County Council and pointed out that the map was out of date and that the illustrated road lines were inaccurate because the removal of the wall had not taken place due to its Listed status and remained at 4.5m. 

‘This measurement was clearly shown on the plans for the pavement widening scheme.

‘We were asked to comment on our concerns which also included use of alternative routes and these were compiled and sent to Alan Connett who forwarded them to the Deputy Director of Planning Highways.   

‘They responded to us dismissively saying that only a trial would show whether the scheme was possible, referring to the width as 5.5 metres and ignoring our phrase, that the removal of the wall did not take place and the effect this had on the road width shown on the plans.

‘We had two meetings where the scheme was discussed at length.

‘It was decided that we would make no further comment since no alternative scheme had been submitted to us. 

‘The parish council position is currently that as no plan has been put forward to suggest that lights are feasible it has no comment to make.’