Visitors to Exeter fireworks display at Westpoint angered by…
The start of the Round Table fireworks at Westpoint on Saturday was delayed by 30 minutes after people travelling to the display were caught in heavy traffic congestion.
Motorists heading out of Exeter reported long queues leading to the Sandygate roundabout at Junction 30 of the M5.
One bus traveller reported it took 45 minutes to travel the three miles from Toys R Us on Sidmouth Road to Crealy Adventure Park on the A3052, near the entrance to Westpoint. That journey should take seven minutes in light traffic.
At 6.16pm Devon County Council highways issued an alert about slow traffic heading towards the display.
BBC Travel also issued a warning about congestion on the A376 between Sandygate and the Clyst St Mary roundabout.
Gates to the event opened at 5.30pm and organisers had urged visitors to arrive by 6.45pm.
They encouraged people to use Stagecoach services as extra buses were laid on and there was a special £2 return fare.
Journalist Alex Richards reported his Stagecoach bus to the display took half an hour to get from Sandygate at 7pm to Westpoint, due to the congestion.
He said some motorists abandoned their cars and walked in an attempt to avoid missing the display, timed to start at 7.30pm. Organisers put back the start time to 8pm when the extent of the traffic delays became clear.
Here’s a tweet from Miles O’Leary who was on a bus caught in the congestion
Graham May commented on the Echo’s Facebook page: “You’d think Westpoint would have learnt after the farce of people trying to attend the Elton John concert in the summer.
“We were here tonight and some families were leaving before it even started as children were knackered.”
There was lots of praise for the fireworks display which included a Star Wars theme.
Lots of people expressed their enjoyment of the fireworks on social media. Here are some of the tweets
But some comments on social media complained about long queues for food and drink at the showground.
Others were unhappy at the wait to get out of the car park. One report on Twitter was of an hour’s wait to get off the site.
All profits from the 36th annual event, the biggest fireworks display in the area, will go to local charities.
In May, Elton John fans were stuck in traffic queues of up to five hours as 15,000 people arrived at Westpoint for a concert by the star. Some missed the concert but were refused refunds.
In June a meeting was held involving members of Westpoint management, South West Highways, members of the local council and a police representative to discuss how to prevent a repeat of the problems.
No one could be reached on Sunday morning from Westpoint or Exeter Round Table to comment on the issues raised over the Bonfire Night event.