New Link Road is ‘vital’ for North Devon’s future – MP
PUBLISHED: 08:00 04 February 2016 | UPDATED: 08:51 04 February 2016
North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones explains why he’s backing the Gazette campaign for a Better Link for North Devon.
Securing major improvements to the link road is vital for the future of North Devon.
A bold statement, maybe, but I honestly believe it’s true.
The A361 is our only major artery. Residents, commuters, visitors, delivery lorries, farm traffic, school buses – we all have to use it. And it’s clearly no longer fit for purpose.
There are multiple problems. The most obvious is that the road is only a single carriageway for most of the route.
What can you do?
Write to Peter Heaton-Jones at Church House, Church Lane, Barnstaple, EX31 1DE or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Write to the North Devon Gazette at Unit 3, Old Station Road, Barnstaple, EX31 8PB or email email@example.com
Tweet your support using the hashtag #ABetterLink
The few overtaking lanes are in short stretches which merge back into single lanes with very little notice, which leads to excessive risk-taking.
That’s one of the factors which makes the road so dangerous. Given its length, the link road sadly has a higher-than-average number of accidents in which people are killed or seriously injured.
The junctions, too, are potential death traps, with often no ‘filter lanes’ in or out of the main road.
And, perhaps the biggest problem now and in the future, is that the link road cannot cope with the volume of traffic. As the population grows we’re seeing jams with increasing regularity; it’s not just queues on summer weekends any more.
"If we want more businesses to create jobs here and more visitors to boost our vital tourist industry, this work has to be done."
But improving the link road is about more than solving those problems. It’s also about securing real economic growth in North Devon.
If we want more businesses to create jobs here and more visitors to boost our vital tourist industry, this work has to be done.
I began campaigning for improvements even before I became North Devon’s MP last May. Once elected, the lobbying began in earnest and I took every opportunity to put our case to the Treasury and the Department for Transport.
That’s why I was delighted when the Chancellor announced that Devon County Council is getting £1.5million to kick-start the planning process. That cheque arrived in the post last week, coinciding with the launch of the Gazette’s campaign.
When the reports are done, we can bid for a new pot of money – nearly half a billion pounds – created by George Osborne in his Autumn Statement in December.
We’ve made good progress in the last nine months, and I’m determined to see it continue. We won’t get it done overnight, but we must get it done.
It’s vital for North Devon’s future.