Peter Heaton-Jones North Devon Journal article Thurs 28 July 2016
This week, an important update on the North Devon Link Road with some significant new information.
You’ll remember I’ve been lobbying the government for major improvements to the A361, because nothing has happened for over 20 years. Subsequently Devon County Council was given £1.5million for the planning process, and the government created a new fund from which we can bid for the cost of construction.
Incidentally, I have written to the newly-appointed Chancellor and Transport Secretary to ensure they’re sticking to these arrangements.
This month Devon County Council launched a public consultation. They suggested two preferred options: some junction improvements costing £35million, or a comprehensive project of overtaking lanes for the whole stretch between South Molton and Brynsworthy, costing £150million.
There was another option: a full dual carriageway. However the Council said this was not a preferred solution.
I wanted to be satisfied this was the right decision, so last week I had a very useful meeting with senior council officers.
Three important things emerged:
Firstly, they stressed that people can still say they’d like a dual carriageway when they complete the consultation. The fact it’s not a preferred option does not mean it’s been completely dismissed.
Secondly, however, a full dual carriageway would take a great deal longer to deliver. The planning process alone could take several years, and of course the cost may be prohibitive.
Thirdly, they clarified that the £150million scheme currently on the table actually includes two lanes in each direction for the busiest stretch of the road around Barnstaple, which is unexpected good news.
That’s a lot of new information to consider. As a result, I suggested that the Council extend the consultation period to make sure as many people as possible can have their say armed with the full facts.
I’m delighted to say they have agreed. The original deadline was tomorrow, but it’s now been extended by 14 days to Friday 12 August.
You can take part in the consultation exercise at Devon County Council’s website.
Please do so. It’s important everyone has their say on this vital investment decision for North Devon.
Have your say on the North Devon Link Road by completeing this survey for Devon County Council.