Bishops Tawton residents say a £2million underpass is not the solution for linking the village with Barnstaple.

Devon County Council is proposing the underpass as part of the North Devon Link Road upgrade package, which will include the Bishops Tawton roundabout.

Residents say according to surveys around 70 people a day cross the busy road, many of them schoolchildren and they believe an underpass would not be safe as it will attract anti social behaviour.

The proposal was added to the Link Road plans in the autumn after a previous consultation with residents suggested they were concerned the extra lanes at the new roundabout would make it unsafe for pedestrians.

But residents say they do not want it and instead suggest a Toucan crossing would solve the problem, since traffic is already slowing down at that roundabout.

Tonight (Monday, February 25) residents will call upon North Devon Council to insist the proposal is dealt with as a planning application and looked at properly regarding safety, environmental harm and cost effectiveness.

Nick Rider, who lives nearby, said surveys showed half of people would not use underpasses.

He said: “A lot of councils are now taking undepasses out, because the cost is high and they are locations for undesirables to sleep.

“They are talking about spending £2m or whatever for 68 people a day to cross. They want to make the roundabout four lanes but then they are putting in a 40 limit and cameras, so having pedestrian activated lights would slow the traffic down anyway.”

NDC ward member David Luggar has also expressed his concern, He said: “This will affect Bishops Tawton for years to come if we don’t get this right.

“There’s already an alternative that DCC talks about that they say is safe for children, a lane from Bishops Tawton corner that goes down to Rock Park and takes you under the Link Road. It floods heavily and there’s a lot of undesirables down there.

“I thought the sensible solution was to have a bridge and cycleway. A lot of people live here and they just don’t seem to want an underpass.”

The roundabout proposals are part of a multi-million project to upgrade of the North Devon Link Road between South Molton and Bideford.

Update: At Monday’s meeting, North Devon Council leader Des Brailey said the council could not require a developer to submit a planning application when the development proposed falls within permitted development rights.

But he said: “We have however passed the question on to Devon County Council who have responded to say that a decision regarding Bishop’s Tawton Roundabout is currently on hold whilst they review options for progressing the scheme as a result of the comments submitted during the public consultation.

“If the outcome of this review is that the works form a major scheme, then Devon County Council will move to submit a planning application; most likely in late spring.

“Any further questions regarding Devon County Council’s proposals should be directed to the county council or their local members.”