Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Link road upgrades ‘needed’ to keep pace with North Devon expansion

PUBLISHED: 09:18 01 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:21 01 April 2016

The Gazette has launched the A Better Link for North Devon campaign to help speed up improvements to the North Devon Link Road and highlight just how crucial it is to the region and its economy.

The Gazette has launched the A Better Link for North Devon campaign to help speed up improvements to the North Devon Link Road and highlight just how crucial it is to the region and its economy.


Improvements could be in place in a fraction of the time it took to build new Barnstaple bridge – says man who campaigned 20 years to build it.

What can you do?

Write to Peter Heaton-Jones at Church House, Church Lane, Barnstaple, EX31 1DE or email

Write to the North Devon Gazette at Unit 3, Old Station Road, Barnstaple, EX31 8PB or email

Tweet your support using the hashtag #ABetterLink

The man behind a 20-year campaign to build Barnstaple’s Western Bypass says improvements need to happen to the A361/A39 North Devon Link Road to keep pace with development in North Devon.

And councillor Brian Greenslade says he is optimistic that the project for a better link to North Devon could be in place in a fraction of the time it took to build the Taw Bridge.

“The Western Bypass has largely done its job, but there are no two ways about it, the volume of traffic coming in and out of North Devon has increased,” he said.

“The bridge has taken around 22,000 vehicle movements a day out of Barnstaple; it’s done its job and people can see the benefits.

Brian Greenslade. Picture: Andy Keeble Brian Greenslade. Picture: Andy Keeble

“But I travel the link road around two or three times a week and have noticed a growth in the number of articulated lorries, particularly supermarket lorries.

“The road is the only real link in and out of North Devon; it clearly needs to be improved.”

Mr Greenslade was speaking following the launch of the Gazette’s A Better Link campaign, which supports plans for improving the A361/A39 gateway.

He said he had campaigned long and hard in the 1980s for the Government to dual the road but ‘it came to nothing’.

“The link road was originally proposed to be a dual carriageway all the way from the M5 to Barnstaple, but the dual carriageway never got any further than Tiverton,” he said.

“The Tiverton to South Molton stretch opened in 1988 and the South Molton to Bideford section was opened in 1989 by Michael Portillo.”

Devon County Council launched its ‘Gateway’ consultation in 2014 after Mr Greenslade questioned the volume of traffic on the road.

“At the time, there was no plan for improvements and the county subsequently launched a consultation which detailed places that could be reasonably improved.”

Before the 2015 General Election, the then Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, announced he was creating a £23billion South West Infrastructure Fund, which would include investment for the North Devon Link Road.

“That managed to survive the election period and the county has now got the money to develop the plans,” added Mr Greenslade.

Recalling his two-decade battle to build the Taw Bridge, Mr Greenslade said public support had helped keep the scheme in the spotlight.

He said: “There was no money in the capital programme in 1989-90 to continue development works, so we held a campaign ‘Honk Your Horn for the Bridge’ to raise awareness.

“It got a lot of attention and got money back in the capital programme for development work.

“There were 20 years from the day we received the £0.25million to when the bridge opened in May 2007, but I don’t think the link road improvements will take as long as that.

“We’ve made a breakthrough with the Government to help fund and get the project to a detailed stage.

“It’s not going to happen overnight but we’re on the right road.

“I think we’ll be looking at a phased development. A dual carriageway is unlikely, but it could be in the early 2020s that we see improvements in place.”

Other News Stories

Motorists are being urged to take care this morning (Monday) as snow, ice and flooding hits North Devon’s roads. Latest updates here as they happen.

Read more

Crews from as far as Someset were called out to help bring a major blaze at a thatched farmhouse near South Molton under control on Saturday.

Read more

A coroner has written to police with concerns after an IPCC investigation into the death of a homeless man in Barnstaple found misconduct.

Read more

North Devon Tesco stores have donated five hampers for the Over and Above Christmas raffle, as well as sacks of toys to the Caroline Thorpe Ward.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:00

More than 20 people attended a volunteer day to help clear dense vegetation and protect wildlife species.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00

Don’t miss this week’s round-up of readers’ pictures from across North Devon.

Read more
Saturday, December 9, 2017

A man is being supported by mental health professionals after spending hours on a bridge over the M5, leading huge delays in Devon last night (Friday).

Read more
Friday, December 8, 2017

Police, fire, ambulance and coastguard services are currently at the scene in Bideford where a man’s body has been recovered from the River Torridge.

Read more
Friday, December 8, 2017

Caroline Leaver has been elected to represent the Newport ward for the Liberal Democrats

Read more
Friday, December 8, 2017

Police are advising van owners to be vigilant after a series of thefts of tools from vehicles across North Devon this week.

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 3°C

min temp: -0°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications